Poodle Hat

"Weird Al" Yankovic

Volcano Records, 2003


REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert


You know, it's really frightening to realize that Weird Al Yankovic's recording career has outlasted probably eighty percent of the artists he's ever lampooned. Nevertheless, this is a tough disc to do; Poodle Hat has the tough role of trying to follow up what is probably Al's best CD, 1999's brilliant Running With Scissors. Al's also gone with some personal changes; music's most weirdest bachelor has gotten married, fathered a child, and generally gotten domestic. It begs the question -- does real life and suburban felicity blunt the wit of the most successful parodist since Tom Lehrer?my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Are you kidding? Nah.

Poodle Hat is pretty damn funny. As usual, Al takes aim and shoots down a few over-inflated egos -- his send up of Oscar-winner "Lose Yourself" on "Couch Potato" manages to perfectly echo Eminem's self-aggrandizing mix of pretentiousness and gangsta -- while tossing out a CD of almost perfect comedy. Add to the mix the talent of his band (there are times when I think that Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz, Jim West, and Steve Jay are the greatest backing musicians of all time), tight production and mixing, and clever lyrics, and it's likely you'll bust a gut listening.

The parodies are what most people know Al for, and they're pretty damn funny this time. In addition to "Couch Potato," we have Al turning Billy Joel's "Piano Man" into a summary of Spiderman ("Ode To A Superhero"), April Lavigne's "Complicated" becoming a tale of bodily woes including beheading ("A Complicated Song"), Nelly's "Hot In Here" improving in both subject and lyrics ("Trash Day"), and a viciously hilarious sendup of the Backstreet Boys and online auctions ("Ebay").

Al's originals and stylistic homages have gotten better over the years, and Poodle Hat has some of the best. Frank Zappa's jazz experimentation shows up in an eerily accurate "Genius In France," Bob Dylan is harpooned to perfection with "Bob," and the utter self-centeredness of "Why Does This Always Happen To Me?" (with Ben Folds on piano) left me howling. Unfortunately, the weak track on the CD is also an original, the one-joke-and-it's-not-too-funny "Party At The Leper Colony."

Overall, however, Poodle Hat is one of the highlights in what is turning into a long, successful, and brilliant career. Weird Al Yankovic has turned himself into much, much more than just another funny face, and shows no sign of slowing. Besides, where else can you hear a brief polka version of Papa Roach's "Last Resort"?

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2003 Duke Egbert and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Volcano Records, and is used for informational purposes only.