“Weird Al” Yankovic will be performing in Waukegan, Illinois this Saturday at the Genesee Theatre and in St. Charles, Illinois on May 31 at the Arcada Theatre. I spoke with Al by phone to discuss these shows and his current concert tour. I’ll be posting that interview in the next day or two (Click the Subscribe button above to receive an email when the interview publishes!) In the meantime, here are some excerpts regarding his new album.
“Weird Al” Yankovic has a new album coming out in June called “Alpocalypse,” featuring the much-discussed Lady Gaga parody “Perform This Way.” Now, he’s opening up about some of the other parodies on the record, which include spoofs of Taylor Swift and Miley Cyrus.
Though the 51-year-old prince of pop parody generally prefers to keep a lid on his songs until they’re released, he did open up (a little) about some of the new tracks.
“Weird Al” Takes On Taylor Swift
I asked Al if “TMZ,” a parody of Taylor Swift’s “You Belong With Me,” is an attack on the paparazzi culture.
“Well, it’s certainly about TMZ, the website and the tv show,” he said. “I don’t want to give away too much… Like a lot of my songs, it’s a gray area in terms of its viewpoint. I think once you listen to the song, you won’t really be able to tell if I’m siding more with the paparazzi or siding more with the celebrities.
“It’s a little like ‘Don’t Download This Song.’ People listened to that and weren’t sure whether I was on the side of the RIAA or the downloaders, so it’s up to you to make up your own mind on that.”
“Weird Al” Yankovic’s Miley Cyrus Parody
“Alpocalypse” also features a track called “Party in the CIA,” a send-up of the insanely-catchy Miley Cyrus hit “Party in the USA.” Yankovic parodied Miley’s dad Billy Ray back in 1993, with “Achy Breaky Song,” a takeoff on the country smash “Achy Breaky Heart.”
Does this mark the first time “Weird Al” has parodied both a father and his daughter?
“That may very well be,” he says with a laugh. “That particular song (‘Party in the USA’) was extremely popular and the video got something like 150 million hits on YouTube. And that song’s having a bit of a resurgence now with recent events, so I guess the song is a bit topical, although that was nothing that I anticipated.”
Don’t expect to hear Al yelping his parody in Miley’s high register.
“My vocal range isn’t as high as Taylor Swift or Miley Cyrus. So we have had to change the key of some of these songs just so I can sing in a comfortable range, which is something I prefer not to do, because I try to make my recording sound as close to the original as possible.”
Taylor Hanson Helps Al Sound Like Hanson
“Weird Al” fans are familiar with the singer’s “style parodies,” which are original compositions done in the style of a particular artist. Yankovic said he invited Taylor Hanson to play on one track because it’s a Hanson style parody:
“He plays keyboards on a song called ‘If That Isn’t Love.’ It’s an original song, but when I wrote the song, I was trying to give it a Hanson vibe. So when it came time to record it, I thought, who better to play keyboards on it than Taylor Hanson?”
Stay tuned for more of the “Weird Al” Yankovic Interview
Yankovic also talked about when you can expect to see the music video for “Perform This Way,” whether he sees himself in competition with artists like The Lonely Island, and his remaining career goals (another UHF movie?) Those details will be posted in the full interview, coming in a few days.
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