Ah, “Weird Al” Yankovic. While some still think of him as some simplistic writer of goofy songs, I think of him more like an institution. An icon, if you will. I mean, can you think of any other music parody composer who has had a longer career than “Weird Al” Yankovic? Heck, his career in the music industry has gone on longer than some of the music acts he’s parodied! That’s longevity, my friend!
While most are familiar with his really big parodies of huge hits, such as “Eat It,” “Fat,” “Smells Like Nirvana,” “White & Nerdy,” “The Saga Begins,” “Handy” and many more, not all of his parodies have hit the mainstream. And I find that to be a real shame as there’s a whole slew of great songs he’s made that makes fun of other songs.
So, for no particular reason at all, here are five of the best underrated “Weird Al” parodies you may not have realized are out there.
“(This Song’s Just) Six Words Long” (parody of “Got My Mind Set On You”)
Well, it’s a little longer than that…
“(This Song’s Just) Six Words Long” is a really dumb but really fun song as it’s all about the composer just writing a song but can’t really write any lyrics to the tune. Instead of pondering about what deep meaningful words to put to the song, he just writes up the fact he can’t think of anything and makes that the lyrics! It’s actually really clever and “Weird Al” manages to use the repetitive rhythm to match whatever he’s saying at the moment.
I guess “(This Song’s Just) Six Words Long” isn’t all that popular since it was on his Even Worse album and, as you can see from the cover, it’s the one that had “Fat” as its carrier single. There was utterly no way another song would get noticed as big as that Michael Jackson parody, especially after they went so hard on the music video for that song. It’s a shame because “(This Song’s Just) Six Words Long” does deserve some recognition.
“Theme from Rocky XIII” (The Rye or The Kaiser)” (Parody of “Eye of the Tiger” from Rocky III)
You laugh at how many sequels now… but you do realize there are around eight Rocky movies now?
“Theme from Rocky XIII (The Rye or The Kaiser)” is basically a fictitious telling of a future Rocky sequel wherein Rocky Balboa has retired from the sport of professional boxing. But instead of living off all the money he made as the champion, he opens up a small, cozy diner where he serves different kinds of food. When you really think about it, “Weird Al” predicted what was going to happen to The Italian Stallion because, in Rocky Balboa, it shows that he did open up a restaurant! Not sure if they serve rye or kaiser buns… but a part of me bets they do!
I was always going to like “Theme from Rocky XIII (The Rye or The Kaiser” because I already really liked the original “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor a whole lot. Listening to “Weird Al” putting his own spin was just the icing on the cake for me. Once again, I can sorta blame Michael Jackson as to why this song didn’t become as big as it was because the same album had “Eat It” as the carrier single.
“The White Stuff” (parody of “You Got It (The Right Stuff))”
When you can write an entire song about the stuff in between a sandwich cookie, you can right about anything!
This was the very first “Weird Al” album I bought with my own money. So I kinda have a soft spot for all of the songs that were on it. I may have bought it for “You Don’t Love Me Anymore” (I still remember the lyrics to it even today) and “Smells Like Nirvana,” but I fell in love with all of the songs on it. So, why did I pick “The White Stuff” over all of the other parody songs in it? Well, because it’s a song about the filling found in Oreos. I just thought it was amazing anyone could write an entire song about that sugary sweet stuff!
I do kind of get why “The White Stuff” wasn’t all that big of a hit. It’s a parody of a New Kids on the Block song and that group was kind of on the way out back then in terms of coolness. Still, if you missed “The White Stuff” because of the song style, you are missing out on some clever lyrics… and some gross ways of using the Oreo filling.
“Ode to a Superhero” (parody of “Piano Man”)
It looks like “The Saga Begins” isn’t the only movie/song parody in “Weird Al’s” arsenal!
You got to hand it to “Weird Al” with “Ode to a Superhero” as he manages to get the basic setup for the Sam Raimi Spider-Man movie’s plot. While definitely not as detailed as his retelling of The Phantom Menace in “The Saga Begins,” “Ode to a Superhero” does get the stories of three of the main characters, namely Peter Parker, Harry Osborne and Norman Osborne, accurately while being sung to the tune of Billy Joel’s “Piano Man.” Not bad. Not bad at all.
Unfortunately, “Ode to a Superhero” and practically most of the songs on the album, Poodle Hat, never really got mainstream recognition. This is mostly due to Eminem refusing to give “Weird Al” permission to shoot a music video for “Couch Potato,” a parody of the rapper’s “Lose Yourself” as he felt it would damage his legacy. Kinda weird as Eminem did give “Weird Al” permission to parody the song but a music video was over the line?
“Syndicated Inc.” (parody of “Misery”)
Hey, I know all these television programs!
I actually thought “Syndicated Inc.” was one of “Weird Al” Yankovic’s original tunes sung in the style of television sitcom openings when I first heard it. I only realized it was a parody of Soul Asylum’s “Misery” years later because, well, I never heard of “Misery” before! It was simply a song that never got any real airtime in the Philippines. By the time I found out it was a parody, I already loved “Syndicated Inc.” for how “Weird Al” managed to smash together so many television programs in one song.
In retrospect, maybe the reason why “Syndicated Inc.” never really became well known is because “Misery” isn’t that well known either. Soul Asylum may be more known for songs like “Runaway Train” but “Misery,” much like “Syndicated Inc.”, seems to have been lost in time.
BONUS: Any of his polka medleys
Yes, literally any of them.
For me, his polka medleys is one of the biggest reasons why “Weird Al” is a genius. I just find in amazing how he manages to fuse together so many hit songs from different genres and mix them into a weird mashup using polka binding them all together. It shouldn’t work but it just does on a ridiculous level.
And he’s been doing it for decades. How the heck does he do it?
What other underrated “Weird Al” Yankovic songs can you think of? Let me know what they are in the comments section below!