It’s been three years since Weird Al’s last album, Alpocalypse, was released. With his newest album he shows that he’s still got it. Mandatory Fun takes a stab at some of the most popular songs out there and switching them up in unexpected ways. From a grammar-filled “Blurred Lines” parody to a song about the insane things a man has seen done in a style reminiscent of The Foo Fighters. Naming the album Mandatory Fun with album art reminiscent of communist propaganda is a great joke in and of itself, but the laughs have only just begun.
The album is rife with dozens of pop culture references, surreal humor, and the good heared fun that Werid Al fans have come to expect from him. Many of the songs make specific references to internet memes and trends. His song “First World Problems” is a popular meme used often all over the internet. He pokes at the poor grammar that many people use while texting, and when writing in general in “Word Crimes.” “Lame Claim to Fame” mocks how important and special people feel from their obscure and ridiculous connections to stars. This album is extremely topical and nails the current generation of both popular songs and trends. It calls out it’s listeners on the stupid things that we do, but it’s never forceful or ill intent. He makes these songs all in good fun, and that’s how they come off.
Al has also been releasing a video a day since July 14. He has eight videos planned to be released from different sites all over the web. One of the best parts of these videos is not just watching Al having a laugh and getting a peak into his strange mind, but the stars that he has gotten to perform with him. So far he’s gotten comedic stars Jack Black, Kristen Schaal, Eric Stonestreet, Margaret Cho and Aisha Tyler in his video “Tacky,” a parody of Pharrell’s “Happy.” In the song “Foil” that parodies the pop hit “Royals” Patton Oswalt, Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant each showed up. There are still more videos to go, and it’s exciting to see what other actors and comedians Al was able to get in his videos.
This album marks the end of Al’s 32-year album contract, and may be his last album he makes. In a Reddit AMA that he held on July 15, when his album was released, he talked about leaving the album format.”I’ll probably just be releasing singles (possibly EPs) going forward – I really don’t think the album format is the most efficient or intelligent way for me to distribute my music anymore.” If that means that we can look forward to a few Weird Al parodies a year, then sign me up.
Written by Jacob Conflitti