CD Review: The Essential “Weird Al” Yankovic

I’ve been a fan of “Weird Al” Yankovic since I was just a little boy. The year was 1984, and back when MTV used to show actual music videos,  one day a video came on that would forever change the way I thought of music and comedy. The song was “Eat It,” Al’s parody of “Beat It” by Michael Jackson. I went out and bought the album (on vinyl at the time… yes, I’m old) and listened to it repeatedly. More albums came quickly. Back then, he would release a new one about once a year. I owned all of them on vinyl, up until the UHF film soundtrack, which I had on cassette, and then everything on CD after that. I eventually upgraded all of the older albums to CD, which is how I own them all today.

Personally, if I like somebody’s music, I am a completist. I still like to own everything they release, if it’s one of my favorite artists. I’ll even buy their CD’s, which is something that I rarely do anymore. That being said, I am not the target demographic for Weird Al’s latest release, The Essential “Weird Al” Yankovic.

But if you are just a casual fan, and you’ve always wanted to own all of his best songs, collected in one place, then this is the collection for you — two CD’s, 38 tracks, 2 1/2 hours spanning a career that’s lasted 26 years (and still going strong). It contains the most popular hits, and fan favorites, parody songs and originals (yes, every Weird Al CD is about 50/50 – parodies and original material). The track list is chronological, from his very first recordings, all the way through today. For the more hardcore collectors, there a couple of alternate takes here (the single edit of “UHF” and extra-gory version of “The Night Santa Went Crazy”), but both have been available before.

Disc 1
“Another One Rides the Bus”
“Polkas on 45”
“Eat It”

“I Lost on Jeopardy”
“One More Minute”
“Like a Surgeon”
“Dare to Be Stupid”
“Dog Eat Dog”

“UHF” (single version)
“The Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota”
“Trigger Happy”
“Smells Like Nirvana”
“You Don’t Love Me Anymore”
“Bedrock Anthem”
“Frank’s 2000″ TV”
“Jurassic Park”

Disc 2
“Since You’ve Been Gone”
“Amish Paradise”

“Everything You Know Is Wrong”
“The Night Santa Went Crazy” (Extra Gory version)
“Your Horoscope for Today”
“It’s All About the Pentiums”
“The Saga Begins”
“Hardware Store”
“I’ll Sue Ya”
“Canadian Idiot”
“Don’t Download This Song”
“White & Nerdy”

“Trapped in the Drive-Thru”

Overall, this is an excellent “best of” for new and old fans alike. My only gripe (and it’s small) is that there are too many songs included from the most recent CD’s. My favorite Weird Al albums are still the ones released early on, because I grew up with them, but that’s probably just me. Al’s career has spawned multiple generations. There is definitely something for everyone here on The Essential “Weird Al” Yankovic.

Later in the week, I’ll be posting a companion piece to this article.  You see, when I originally found out about this collection, I finally went through my iTunes library and made my own essential “best of” playlist.  It includes some lesser known songs that I feel should have been included here.  Check out part two…

The Official Weird Al Website
Follow Al on Twitter


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