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The genius of “Weird Al” Yankovic cannot be overstated, and those who don’t appreciate him are clearly bad people. Here are the five song parodies that actually outshine the originals.
5. “Pretty Fly For a Rabbi”—Parody of “Pretty Fly (For A White Guy)” by The Offspring
As a Jewish kid from New Jersey, I was hurt by The Offspring’s assault on the wannabes of white suburbia. But change the subject matter to Bar Mitzvahs and pastrami: now that speaks to me.
4. “Smells Like Nirvana”—Parody of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana
Here, Al decides to actually mock the band instead of just replacing the lyrics with ones about an unrelated humorous topic. What’s most impressive is that he’s really ahead of his time in terms of hating on Nirvana. Great job, Uncle Muscles.
3. “Gump”—Parody of “Lump” by The Presidents of the United States of America
The Presidents are such an inconsequential band that it’s probably not fair to call them out, but let’s put it this way: “Forrest Gump” was released in 1994, and “Lump” was recorded in 1995. Listening to how many lyrics were preserved between “Lump” and “Gump,” it’s hard to believe the band didn’t record their song solely to make Al’s job easy.
2. “Spam”—Parody of “Stand” by R.E.M.
There are many songs I don’t like, but there are only two songs that actually make me physically nauseous when I hear them: Maroon 5’s “This Love,” and R.E.M.’s worst song: “Stand.” Yet somehow Al’s nasal singing voice perfectly fits the obnoxious melody, and even his descriptions of rotting lunchmeat can’t make this version more sickening than the original.
1. “It’s All About the Pentiums”—Parody of “It’s All About the Benjamins (Rock Remix)” by Puff Daddy
In this nerd anthem, one of the greatest parodies of our time, Weird Al spits out insults Diddy could only dream of: “You think your Commodore 64 is really neato? / What kind of chip you got in there, a Dorito?” If you can’t respect that, well, “You’re just about as useless as JPEGs to Helen Keller.” Shit son, he just went there.
—Jeff W. Feldman is the incoming Music Editor. He ain’t never punched a tourist, even if he deserved it.
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