20 April 2011

Perform This Way

Al performs "You're Pitiful". (Pic not by me.)
Today I bring you a post devoted almost solely to pimpage. As it's public knowledge that I am a total dork, it shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that I am a fan of "Weird" Al Yankovic.

 I saw him for the first time back in '84, I think, when he toured with the Monkees. That's right, kids... I said it. My first concert EVER was a Monkees reunion tour. I saw Al twice when I was still in single digits and had a blast. This was before he released Even Worse. My mom and I used to listen to Weird Al tapes (TAPES!!!) on long car rides. I saw him in August and actually got to meet him. His shows (and music) have only gotten better over the past 30 years and he is an amazing person. After a concert where the man WORKED for 2 solid hours, performing and giving 110% to his audience, Al took a few minutes to take pictures and sign autographs for a handful of fans. When he talked to my husband, he listened, genuinely interested in what Sean had to say. My already high esteem for him shot up about 200 points there.

Polka Face. (Again, pic not by me.)
So yeah, I loves me some Weird Al. Anyway, today, I see from his Twitter feed that he has a new single. A parody of Lady Gaga's "Born This Way". Awesome! I've been wanting him to do some "Polka Face" action for a while and this new single is just the--wait, what's this? It's not a single? I read his blog on the Gaga Saga and I'm actually a little saddened.

The short version (go read his firsthand account for the longer one) is that after writing and recording (at Gaga's request) the parody, Gaga did not give the go ahead for it to be a single. That's fine. That's her choice. It's a bit dickish of her to ask him to do all that work and then turn it down without any reason as to why, but still, her choice. I'm just wondering what about it Gaga took issue with. He didn't lie or slander her at all. He did what he does best: Parody. Satire. With outstanding musicality. Really, Gaga must have a sense of humor (how else would she wake up in the morning?) so what was her problem with Al's piece?

Anyway, Al did what anyone with free use would do. He posted the finished track on YouTube. Enjoy, kids!


Al & his family for the No H8 campaign.

As is often the case, I prefer Al's version of the song. (The other day, "Don'tcha" by the Pussy Cat Dolls came on my shuffle and I thought it sounded horrible without accordion.) I think I've listened to it 8 times today because it's just so much fun. I'm being generous if I say I've listened to "Born This Way" more than thrice.

What makes me sad about this... Al wouldn't have made a dime off of this song. He said that since he didn't want to sully the underlying message "Born This Way" has, he would donate all proceeds made from the sale of the song to the Human Rights Campaign. Now, that piece is up on YouTube and mp3s for free download will soon follow. No money is being made at all for anyone. (He hopes that those who like the song will take the money they would've spent on a download and donate it to the HRC.) On a more selfish note: can you imagine what a live performance of this would've looked like?

I'm sorry that it didn't get to happen. I, along with other fans of both Al and Gaga, hope that sometime they can sit down together, hash this out and make something fun and potent. Hell, when Al and Avril Lavigne collaborated on his parody of "Complicated", that rocked.  But until then, I will just wait ever so patiently for his new album. See... this is me, being patient.

Cheers, Al. You're fantastic.

3 comments:

Jeremy McCliment said...

Turns out she's allowing it -- http://alyankovic.wordpress.com/2011/04/20/gaga-update/

DeAnna said...

Woo hoo! So glad.

Sweet Pea said...

I've seen Al twice and loved him both times. His band is SO amazing. They can play any song, any kind of music and make it sound like the original artist. Just fantastic.

I've been to a few concerts but I always count Al as the best performer I've ever seen. Really long shows, too. The concert I want to at the Toledo Zoo (!!!) was almost 3 hours long.

I was sad to hear about the Gaga thing. Considering the fact that "Born This Way" is a direct rip off of "Express Yourself" and sounds like about 50 other songs (have you seen the youtube video with the guy singing other songs to "Born This Way"?), it's funny that she's so controlling over it and any parodies regarding it. At least Al has a reason for why his songs sound like other songs, you know?

*sigh*

Did you know that turtles are nature's suction cups? *hee*

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