There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
“Every album is a comeback album,” “Weird Al” Yankovic recently told VH1’s Behind the Music. True, the guardians of hip do not lie awake contemplating Al’s next move. But Al has no intention of going away and, astoundingly, he has managed to keep coming back for more than two decades. “I evolve with whatever pop culture comes around,” he said, and with Running With Scissors, Al has evolved into the supreme parodic being. The cover is his funniest, a mockery of Bruce Jenner’s triumphant Olympic run, and throughout the album, Al’s sharp, unapologetically wacky lyrics and spot-on production from his tight longtime band proudly uphold the worthy tradition of parody. Don McLean’s “American Pie” has been begging to be crammed through the burlesque blender since it was released in 1972, and Al has matched the epic tune with a suitably epic topic—the convoluted Phantom Menace plot. From the opening line, “A long long time ago…” it’s as if the Force had ordained it. At his best, Al makes you prefer his version to the original, as with his take on Puff Daddy’s “It’s All About the Benjamins”: Al turns it into a new modern anthem, “It’s All About the Pentiums.” Al’s gift is his ability to wring every last twist and pun out of the concept, as in these increasingly inventive lyrics: “Hey, fellah, I bet you’re still living in your parents’ cellar/Downloading pictures of Sarah Michelle Gellar/And postin’ “Me too!” like some brain-dead AOL-er/I should do the world a favor and cap you like Old Yeller/You’re just about as useless as JPEGS to Helen Keller.” Other standouts include “Pretty Fly for a Rabbi” and another polka medley, this time combining the Spice Girls, Hanson, Madonna, Chumbawamba, Third Eye Blind, Smash Mouth, Backstreet Boys, and many others into a two-beat stew. In fact, “Wannabe” and “MMMBop” are very much improved. —Dave Nuttycombe