Mandatory Fun

Mandatory Fun might be Weird Al Yankovic’s final traditional album release and if that’s the case, we can safely say Weird Al has never made a bad album (though Even Worse certainly resembled a Bad album). Things kick into overdrive with “Foil,” a parody of Lorde’s “Royals,” which is hilarious in Al’s vocal delivery alone. The strong parodies continue with “Tacky” (Pharrell’s “Happy”) as well as the Crosby, Stills & Nash–esque “Mission Statement,” overflowing with enough nonsensical corporate buzzwords to bury any cubical monkey in PTSD. However, it’s the inevitably viral “Word Crimes” (Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines”), deliciously skewering poor grammar in the Internet age, that epitomizes Weird Al’s approach of mixing social commentary with good-natured, but spot-on, humor. The surprise star is a Weird Al original, “Sports Song,” which recalls the comedy styling of Monty Python and Mel Brooks in its catchy, satirical dissection of sports fanaticism. While the growing ubiquity of the Internet, YouTube and digital distribution now plays a part in how Weird Al releases his music, it certainly doesn’t spell the end of Weird Al. If anything, the wealth of parodies found online have strengthened Weird Al’s craft, raising a bar for him to, once again, effortlessly clear.