‘Weird Al’ Yankovic Album Flashback: ‘In 3-D’ Highlights
There's also "I Lost on Jeopardy," "Theme from Rocky XIII (The Rye or the Kaiser)," the ode to supermarket tabloids "Midnight Star" and the two that stand out the most for me "Mr. Popeil" and "The Brady Bunch."
In 3-D is interesting because it is Al's second full length album, but the the amount that he grew and improved since his first album is enormous.
His 1983 self titled debut has a few standout tracks like "Ricky" and "Mr. Frump in the Iron Lung." The rest of the album, while still good, is more like well done Dr. Demento-ish quality, novelty songs. They're good for a chuckle, but don't really have the inspired spark that Al fostered and grew over the course of the rest of his career.
That's how most great artists work though, isn't it.
But, the amount of improvement between that album and In 3-D is vast. Beginning with the ideas - they are stronger and have the bit of subversive social commentary that Al peppers his song with.
Whether skewering the white Reggae/Yuppy era in "Buy Me a Condo" or slasher movies with "Nature Trail to Hell;" Al takes what could be one joke, generic morning radio throwaway bits and crafts musical compositions that live as songs and comedy.
The writing on the album is also becoming less juvenile and more good-silly. With better references and jokes that still hold up in 2015.
"The Brady Bunch" features a recurring theme in Al's work: the general junkieness of television programing. It mixes clever references to the current (1984) TV landscape while repurposing the story of The Brady Bunch into new lyrics for the Men Without Hats hit.
"Mr. Popeil" nails the frantic dance sound of the B-52's and uses the tropes of the early 'as seen on TV' commercial style of Samual Popeil, who invented the Vegematic and the Pocket Fisherman, to rocket late night TV nostalgia into your brain.
* An earlier version of this article incorrectly identified "The Safety Dance" as a Men at Work song because I'm a poor proof reader. And really, come on, the names are really similar.