Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Tastes... TASTES...

Good on da' bun!

In honor of all things musically dandy, I present a simple and straightforward post. "Weird Al" Yankovic's "Even Worse" was the first CD I ever owned. My dad bought it for me ($29.99 at the time) to play on his brand-new CD player. Years later, the CD player ended up going to fuxupyo's dad. His dad (Pastor Joe) rewired it. He added a skip and random-play feature by wiring it to his computer through a parallel cable. Amazing guy with an amazing brain.

I loved "Weird Al" long before I loved the true launching point of my interest in music; Pink Floyd. I will love him long after the four remaining members of the London psychedelic quartet have set their respective controls for the heart of the sun. Al is brilliant, zany, and filled with just enough social satire to make his humor slightly relevant.

With that in mind, check out this link, and listen to the whole song before reading on: Don't Download This Song

When I listen to this song, two points become very obvious:

1. "Weird Al" Yankovic sticks to very socially acceptable humor.
2. His music is intended to make middle-schoolers laugh.

While these two ideas may seem innocuous at first, consider the underlying message of his song. He claims, in no uncertain terms, that the copyright and legal moguls of American (RIAA, BMI, and others) have stepped so far beyond the bounds of rational discourse that no one, save the hopelessly misguided, could actually think they are serving the interests of the artists they represent.

Now, this guy isn't John Stewart, Michael Moore, or any other far-end leftist humorist who has an axe to grind (BTW, I love John Stewart, Michael Moore, and, really, anyone who has an axe to grind about pretty much anything). This is "Weird Al" folks. This is the guy who parodied Michael Jackson's "Beat It" with "Eat It." He's not trying to be taken seriously, but therein lays the real beauty of the song. "Weird Al" sings to entertain middle-schoolers, not their parents. He writes lyrics kids understand because they are juvenile to take the line, "I accidentally shot Daddy last night in the den! I mistook him in the dark for a drug-crazed Nazi again!" as mere hyperbolae.

It demonstrates that middle-schoolers understand how ridiculous it is for the RIAA to sue children. Kids have highly-tuned bullshit radars, and they hate, hate, hate hypocrisy. Al is cashing in on it by making fun of such a bleedingly simple target: enormous corporate conglomerates who only fool the feeble-minded into believing that people sharing music with their friends is akin to flying planes into the world trade center. It makes a good case that the humor in the song is so universally understood to be ridiculous (like the OJ Simpson trial or the sounds of bodily functions) that a 13-year-old would understand the joke and laugh.

So, what does that say about the rest of country and the state of corporations manufacturing consent? Who knows?

I just know that there really are some people who stand behind the RIAA saying, "Yeah, we should totally sue people for sharing music they legally own!" But the mere existence of this song shows that a new generation, one not so hopelessly dependent on "voices of authority" to tell them what is and isn't morally acceptable, is looming heavy on the horizon. "Weird Al" is onboard for the long the ride. When I was a kid, it was funny to make fun of Michael Jackson and gun control. Al is still pointing towards the obviously absurd, only now, most if the adults aren't in on the joke. And that's may be the saddest part of all.

God bless the Glorious Weirdness. It takes a true luminary like Mr. Yankovic to show us the absurdity of our ways… even if it was already painfully obvious to 10-year-olds.

“Let me tell sonny, let me set you straight. You kids today ain’t never had it rough. Always had everything handed to you on a silver plate, you lazy brats think nothing’s good enough.”

-Weird Al Yankovic

Image 5 in "Whose Wax Baby Pictures Towards Which The When Picture HAPPY???"

(This is one of the truly funniest pictures ever. This poor cat looks like a victim of some late-night Camelot party.)


Sis said...

at last, another one rides the bus! God bless his iron I can sit down by side and Hi!

Growing up with Al had it's effects on me (thank God it balanced out MARIO and the Kupa Turtle)

If only I could see Vern with the phone cord wrapped neatly around his neck...just one ...more...time....
them were the dayz.

there are greater things to focus on in this world than downloading. Chinese railroads, AIDS in Africa, birdflu.... Great comments said it.

God speed, Al

AdamK said...

Chinese railroads? Don't tell me they are actually going to do it! Our government always assured us that the Chinese would never act on their plan to erect a giant railway across the Pacific Ocean. Lies, damn lies!

You know where you can find me when the Chinese start sending their military forcer over on it.

Matt said...

trying again