Over the next several weeks, we're going to celebrate Weird Al Wednesday as I go through each of the 15 albums in the Squeeze Box accordion box set. There are many albums in this set that were hugely influential to me as a young kid and there are no shortage of incredible songs throughout. Weird Al and The Blues Brothers are definitely the building blocks for my earliest appreciation of music.
Weird Al's 2nd album, In 3-D, came out in 1984 and is most remembered for being the album that has "Eat It" as its first single. This is the song that broke weird all through to the mainstream in a big, big way and made him a staple of the early days of MTV. While "Eat It" was never my favorite Weird Al song (which is probably in part to not being much of a fan of the original song), this album is packed full of hits.
"Midnight Star" is an incredible song documenting the tabloid era of nonsense supermarket headlines. It was interesting to see Al at one of his shows say that he wanted this to be the lead single rather than "Eat It." Though he admits in retrospect, that would have been a poor business decision. "Buy Me A Condo" is a reggae pastiche that was my favorite Weird Al song for a spell in elementary school. I don't rank it quite so high anymore, but I still enjoy it immensely.
"Theme from Rocky XIII" is a send up of "Eye of the Tiger" and is probably the song that really cemented my love of people singing about food. "Nature Trail To Hell" is a maddening journey through slasher flick troupes with a backmasking message about cheese whiz. In 3-D also contains "Polkas on 45," the first appearance of a polka medley on a Weird Al album. These would go on to be the highlights of many albums for me over the years. This one is particularly fun, mashing together songs like "Smoke on the Water," "Hey Jude" and "Should I Stay or Should I Go" into an accordion fueled polka blast.
Ultimately, In 3-D is a big change from the first self titled album, but this is where Weird Al really put his flag into the ground and was noticed by many, many more people. It's a varied, exciting album and even though it's not as rough around the edges as his debut, really set up the template for future releases.
"Weird Al" Yankovic - "Midnight Star":
"Weird Al" Yankovic - "Theme from Rocky XIII":
"Weird Al" Yankovic - "Polkas on 45":