Poodle Hat
(Way Moby / Volcano)

"WEIRD AL" YANKOVIC: Poodle Hat (Way Moby / Volcano) Comedy albums have always had a short 'shelf life' for me. They're funny when you buy them, and then after the novelty wears off, you never play them again. However, this one has an unusual redeeming quality to it. More on that in just a minute.

As is the case on most of Al's albums, about half of the disc is original material and the other half is made up of parodies on (mostly) current hits. Since most people reading this will be interested in the parodies, I'll cover them first. For some reason, Al felt the need to do songs by Eminem and Nelly. These may be lyrically clever, but they're also painfully unlistenable. Just skip 'em.

The best of the bunch is "A Complicated Song," a hilarious take on the Avril Lavigne tune. It's amazing how many words there are that end with "ated." You'll hear several of them in this song. The Backstreet Boys parody ("Ebay") is good too. "Ode to a Superhero" is a predictable take on Billy Joel's "Piano Man," with a Spiderman twist. As always, there's a polka medley on the disc. This time out, Al does polka versions of hits by the likes of Kid Rock, The Hives, Papa Roach, Rage Against the Machine, and a whole lot more.

The original songs have their moments, but with a couple exceptions, aren't anything spectacular. "Bob" is a tribute of sorts to Bob Dylan, with the lyrics made up of palindromes (words that are the same, spelled forward or backwards--i.e. race car, etc).

The best track on the CD is the nine-minute Frank Zappa tribute, "Genius in France." From the incendiary fretwork of Dweezil Zappa throughout the track, to the vocals, chord changes, drum fills, all the way down to the "great googlimoogli" in the lyrics, the song has FZ written all over it.

In case the FZ tribute wasn't enough in itself, there's a ton of extra stuff on the disc. Instrumental tracks, alternate mixes (including more Ben Folds stuff), lyrics that scroll along with the songs, a photo gallery and Al's home videos.

If you're a 'Weird Al' fan, you'll probably love this CD. And especially if you're a Zappa fan, you owe it to yourself to pick up a copy of Poodle Hat. Don't miss it.

© 2003 Steve Marshall
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