Running With Scissors
Artist: "Weird Al"
Label: Volcano Records
"Weird Al" Yankovic isn't as funny as he was when I was thirteen
years old. That's not to say his latest album, Running With Scissors,
isn't funny. It just doesn't measure up to the soundtracks of my
pre-teen years, such as Off the Deep End or Dare to be Stupid.
The first thing you notice about Al is that he's shaved off his
characteristic mustache, grown his hair longer and straighter, lost the
Hawaiian shirts, and had his vision corrected. Al now looks like
an eerie combination of Alanis Morissette and Marilyn Manson. Presumably
this is so he won't be as easily recognized in public, but one has to wonder
how many times he's addressed as "Miss Morissette."
Thank goodness the music is still good. Running With Scissors
opens with The Phantom Menace set to Don McLean's "American
Pie," and it's a side-splitter. Over the next twelve tracks, Al parodies
Barenaked Ladies ("One Week" becomes the rather crude "Jerry Springer"),
Puff Daddy ("It's All About the Benjamins" is transformed into "It's All
About the Pentiums"), and Offspring ("Pretty Fly for a White Guy" becomes
"Pretty Fly for a Rabbi").
The original songs on this album include the witty "My Baby's In
Love With Eddie Vedder," the theme to Al's short-lived Saturday morning
TV show, the eleven minute stream of consciousness "Albuquerque," and the
highly disturbing "Truck Drivin' Song":
Oh, I always gotta check my lipstick in that rear-view mirror
And my pink angora sweater fits so tight
I'm jammin' gears and haulin' freight
Well, I sure hope my seams are straight
Lord, don't let my mascara run tonight
The song is sung in a manly baritone, leading the listener
to only one conclusion.
No, Al's not as funny as he was when I was thirteen, but should
he be? His target audience is obviously pre-teen boys, and he does
another exceptional job making us laugh with Running With Scissors.
Michial Farmer (8/11/99)