Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Serious Like Weird Al (pt.3)

In previous posts I've started to build a case for why I think Weird Al Yankovic is one of the greatest lyricists of the present day, pointing out the way he fashions a completely new song while sticking closely to the original rhyme scheme and meter. This is a very restrictive way to work. But that's not all. In some songs he does all of the above despite the lyrics being a complete summary of a film storyline.

Here's a few examples from his parody of American Pie - The Saga Begins (aka Star Wars: The Phantom Menace)

A long, long time ago...
I can still remember
How that music used to make me smile.

A long, long time ago
In a galaxy far away
Naboo was under an attack

here's the chorus;

So bye-bye, Miss American Pie.
Drove my Chevy to the levee, But the levee was dry.
And them good old boys were drinkin' whiskey and rye
Singin', "this'll be the day that I die."

Oh my, my, this here Anakin guy
May be Vader someday later - now he's just a small fry
And he left his home and kissed his mommy goodbye
Sayin' "Soon I'm gonna be a Jedi."

The last verse almost completely retains the original rhymes and concludes

And the three men I admire most:
The father, son, and the holy ghost,
They caught the last train for the coast
The day the music died.

And the Jedi I admire most
Met up with Darth Maul and now he's toast
Well, I'm still here and he's a ghost
I guess I'll train this boy

Al performed the same feat with the first Spiderman film set to the tune of 'Piano Man' by Billy Joel

Sing us a song, you're the piano man
Sing us a song tonight
Well, were all in the mood for a melody
And you've got us feelin' alright

Sling us a web, you're the Spider-Man
Sling us a web tonight
'Cause we're all in the mood for a hero now
And there's evil doers to fight

Now Paul is a real estate novelist
Who never had time for a wife
And hes talkin' with Davy, who's still in the navy
And probably will be for life

Now Norman's a billionaire scientist
Who never had time for his son
But then something went screwy and before you knew he
Was trying to kill everyone

As well as the numerous echos (It's a pretty good crowd for a Saturday/It's a pretty sad day at the funeral and Now John at the bar/ Now Harry the rich kid) he goes beyond merely relaying the plot, adding wry commentary on the film itself...

And he's ridin' around on that glider thing
And he's throwin' that weird pumpkin bomb
Yes, he's wearin' that dumb Power Rangers mask
But he's scarier without it on.

The Saga Begins is on Running With Scissors and Ultimate Collection DVD AND Weird Al Live DVD. Ode To A Superhero is on Poodle Hat.


  1. Thank you for this series on Weird Al, I appreciate the points you made. I was wondering if you have ever heard of ApologetiX? They are a band that does parodies like Weird Al, but with Christian lyrics. I think you would like them.
    God Bless

  2. Thanks for stopping by Robert. I have heard OF ApologetiX but not really heard anything BY them. I seem to recall you had to log into their site to stream music or something like that.

    Let me know some particular favourite tracks I should check out, if you can think of any...

  3. Hi Matt, you can find a good sampling of their music on YouTube. I like pretty much all their songs, but some that stand out for me are "Lifestyles of the Rich and the Nameless" (parody of Lifestyles of the Rich and the Famous by Good Charlotte); Enter Samson (parody of enter Sandman by Metallica); It's not Eden (parody of It's not Easy by Five for Fighting); Wherever You Will Sow (parody of Wherever You Will Go by The Calling) to name a few.


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