Weird Al Yankovic has been making musical parodies for 30 years if you can believe it. His latest album is “Mandatory Fun.” And for the first time in more than 50 years, a comedy album is topping the Billboard 200 chart, selling 104,000 copies in its first week of release.
To promote the album, Weird Al released a video a day for about a week, each one reaching different level of viral. He launched with a star-studded bang, releasing “Tacky,” a play on Pharrell’s uber-popular song “Happy.”
New York magazine has a few reasons why the album is doing so well. We have a couple of our own.
The Vulture blog attributes the success of the album to, among other things, the strength of pop music (he’s parodying some very good, catchy songs); the pervasiveness of memes; and the Beyonce-like release of his videos. We would agree with all of these things. (Though there’s also something about it being a slow pop culture week and we’re not so sure about that. Umm… the 50 Shades trailer!)
Part of Weird Al’s success has always been tied to his ability to inject himself into the conversation and be relevant. He’s not just substituting the word “tacky” for “happy.” The lyrics of that song resonate. It is tacky to Instagram all your meals and take selfies at a funeral. These are things that are happening now, in the real world. Weird Al’s brand of comedy, just like any prevalent comedian from Jerry Seinfeld to Louie CK, touches on the things that people are thinking about at this moment and makes us laugh about it.
Also — and perhaps this is more personal reasoning — people keep saying that Iggy Azalea’s song “Fancy” is the song of the summer, but that’s not entirely true. Many people disagree with that declaration, leaving room for other music to jump in and take hold. Who better than Weird Al, who is just fun and silly and everything people want to think about during the small breaks we take from the bad news we keep hearing.
Rock on Weird Al.