Pledge Music (2017)
Since I finished up the Otis Redding Box Set, I figured I would tackle the incredible Weird Al Squeeze Box Set. Since this box contains a hell of a lot more records than the Otis one did, I'm going to try to go through albums weekly instead of every other week. We'll try to get Weird Al Wednesday to be a thing over the next few months. I'll start with his first self titled album and finish up with the exclusive rarities LP that comes with the set.
Weird Al's first, self titled album has just about always been my favorite of his. I've read interviews with him where he states that there are songs on here that make him cringe and it's a little rough for him to listen to. He's also said that it's kind of his punk rock album and as time went on he got better at his craft. While I will not deny that Al has had incredible, incredible albums that came out after this and while I agree that the musicianship certainly improved over the years, there is an energy on this album that surpasses anything else he ever did in my opinion.
The thing that I love the most about this album is how ridiculously accordion heavy it is. It's not something in the background or used for a polka medley, the accordion is front and center and is far and away the focal point of the record along with Al's lyrics. Hearing Al bust out accordion fueled parodies of "I Love Rock N Roll" ("I Love Rocky Road"), "My Sharona" ("My Bologna") and "Another One Bites The Dust" ("Another One Rides The Bus") blew my goddamn mind as a kid trying to figure out what I wanted to listen to. Up until about 1988 or so, Weird Al and The Blues Brothers were just about the only bands that really connected with me.
I also adore Al's originals on this album. "Gotta Boogie" is kind of a one note pun joke, but the intro of the song and the way the instruments layer on top of each other is something I've always found inspiring. "Happy Birthday" is a fast paced and lyrically dark song that always hit my funny bone in just the right way. And "I'll Be Mellow When I'm Dead" is perfect catharsis for a kid that was constantly restless in a remote part of NJ, who didn't quite mesh in with his classmates at the time.
I love this album. I mean, I love pretty much all of Weird Al's albums, but this one will always be extra special to me. It wasn't the first album of his that I heard, but it was the one that struck me as being the most brazen and exciting. I still vividly remember that day I found the cassette in Caldor and how I thought I had found a secret that no one else knew about. Just a phenomenal record that I found at exactly the right time.
"Weird Al" Yankovic - "My Bologna":
"Weird Al" Yankovic - "Happy Birthday":
"Weird Al" Yankovic - "I'll Be Mellow When I'm Dead":