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April 09, 1984 12:00 PM

“Weird Al” Yankovic

Not since Stan Freberg went marauding through the pop culture of the ’50s has there been such a sharp, versatile and all-out hilarious purveyor of musical parody and satire. Yankovic, 24, and no relation to Frank “Polka King” Yankovic, is uniquely entertaining for his generation. There is already a hit single from this LP, Eat It, which sends up Michael Jackson’s Beat It: “Have some more yogurt/Have some more Spam/It doesn’t matter/If it’s fresh or canned/Just eat it…eat it.” (Jackson gave permission for Yankovic’s new lyrics to be tacked onto Michael’s music; Sting, Greg Kihn and the members of Survivor and Men Without Hats cooperated too.) But there’s a lot more to smile at. I Lost on Jeopardy is a lament for that old (and soon-to-be-revived) TV quiz show, with the program’s real announcer, the ubiquitous Don Pardo, turning up to intone: “Let me tell you what you didn’t win: A 20-volume set of the Encyclopedia International, a case of Turtle Wax and a year’s supply of Rice-A-Roni, the San Francisco treat. But that’s not all. You also made yourself look like a jerk in front of millions of people. And you’ve brought shame and disgrace on your family name for generations to come. You don’t get to come back tomorrow. You don’t even get a lousy copy of our home game.” Polkas on 45 devastates those dumb medley records, managing to combine polkafied sounds of the Police, Devo, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Lawrence Welk in one song. Nature Trail to Hell is a theme for an imagined horror movie. Buy Me a Condo takes on reggae and wrestles it to the ground. Mr. Popeil is an anthem to those late-night commercials for Pocket Fisherman and Vegematics. And Theme From Rocky XIII turns Eye of the Tiger into a delicatessen ditty with the refrain, “Try the rye or the kaiser or the wheat or the white.” Yankovic can get nasty; Midnight Star rips the tabloid scandal sheets to shreds. But mostly his humor is good-natured and easy to take. It’s even musically appealing, for anyone who wants to laugh and dance at the same time. (Rock ‘N’ Roll Records)

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