Revisiting Weird Al’s ‘Polka Party’ Talking Heads Sound
I want to shine the 'Weird Al' spotlight on a song from the Weird Al's 1986 album Polka Party!. I first got this album on cassette from my parents for my 11th birthday. So, I have quite a bit of nostalgic fondness for this album, but in comparison to Al's albums that would follow, it is a kind of weak collection. There are still some bright spots. After all, this is the album that gave us the Christmas classic "Christmas at Ground Zero." And "Living with a Hernia" holds up too.
But the song I really want to bring attention your to is the second song on the album, "Dog Eat Dog." This tune is style parody, meaning that it's an original song done in the style of a popular artist. In this case the new-wave band Talking Heads.
The lyrics tale the story of a work-a-day office drone. Exploring his misplaced excitement about jelly donuts, paper clip sculptures and staplers. The song's subject familiar trope in Al's work. Taking the mundane aspects of a corner of life and blowing them up to grandiose levels, another example is "It's All About the Pentiums." In that case it's IT as gangsta bravado, in "Dog Eat Dog" it's the high pressure business world attitude contrasted with guarding his office coffee mug. As with Al's best style parodies, this song could fit right into the Talking Head's cannon.