Eddie, Vanna, and Colonel Sanders – 3 Great Weird Al Originals
Some of the best 'Weird Al' songs are his originals. Often they are a song done in the style of a popular artist. Like the song "Velvet Elvis" which has a perfect Police sound or "First World Problems" which would sound at home on a Pixies' album. Even when they aren't a style parody the songs are fun.
The originals are so good that Al is out on a tour playing only originals. It's called the Ridiculously Self-Indulgent Ill-Advised Vanity Tour. Instead of the usual costume changes and video screens, this tour features Al and his bad stripped down, unplugged-style playing songs for the die-hardest of fans.
The tour got me thinking of some of my favorite Weird Al originals. Most of Al's albums start with the big parody single, then next on the track list is an original. There are three that I think are among the best that Al's done.
Going chronologically, first up is a song from 1988's Even Worse album, "Stuck in a Closet With Vanna White."
Musically it's a straight up rock song. Lyrically, Al takes a head doctor on a goofy journey through his dreams where he goes shopping in his underwear and doughnuts and hot dogs are flying around. Then there's Russian spies, Velcro and french fries. An algebra test and aliens. And always at the end of the dream he ends up stuck in a closet with the Wheel of Fortune's mistress of lighted letters, Vanna White.
The second second song is from 1996's Bad Hair Day, "Everything You Know is Wrong."
This song is a They Might Be Giants style parody. In it we go on a super silly stream of consciousness trip with Al that takes him from carpooling with a wolverine on the freeway to a meeting with mystical hibachi dealer. Then it's off to an alternate dimension populated with Jamie Farr looking aliens. Colonel Sanders' floating head also makes an appearance, there's also time travel, bill paying and more general goofiness.
Finally, the third second track is off of the album Running with Scissors; "My Baby's in Love with Eddie Vedder."
This song has a bouncy Zydeco sound that is a joy to listen to. Lyrically, this song hits me right in the broken teenage heart. You see, as a younger man I spent many an evening in the 90s pining for various dark haired, English major, alternative, riot grrls. And as much as I tried, I never seemed to have enough brooding angst for them. So, I feel for the guy in this song who's girl has a thing for "...the frustrated, agitated, designated, alienated, spokesman for the disaffected grunge generation."