Weird Al surprises fans with new music accompanying biopic

Alfred+Matthew+Yankovic+%28AKA+Weird+Al%29+and+Daniel+Radcliffe.

Contributed from: Sinna Nasseri

Alfred Matthew Yankovic (AKA Weird Al) and Daniel Radcliffe.

Gabriel Hathaway, Editor-in-Chief

It has been eight years since Alfred Matthew Yankovic, also known by his stage name as “Weird Al Yankovic” or just “Weird Al”, has released a full musical project. Weird Al’s last album, “Mandatory Fun” came out in 2014 to surprisingly high acclaim, debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 list. Since then, Weird Al has released a number of singles, “The Hamilton Polka” (2018), “Scarif Beach Party” (2022), and worked on songs with other artists, “Live in the Moment” (Portugal. The Man, 2018) and “Who’s Gonna Stop Me” (Portugal. The Man, 2020). Despite these projects, many Weird Al fans have been left hoping for a more substantial addition to his discography. 

Enter “Weird: The Al Yankovic Story” (2022), this humorous exaggerated biopic of Weird Al’s life boasts a 46 track long original soundtrack including several re-recordings of some of Al’s most beloved and classic songs, early work as well as a brand new song for the credits. The album is also supplemented by several orchestral and backing tracks composed by Leo Birenberg and Zach Robinson, known from their work in “Cobra Kai” (2018-present).

If you don’t already know Weird Al, your dad probably does, or at least my dad does. Weird Al rose to prominence for his zany and outlandish parodies of popular music. Al’s first single, “My Bologna” (parodying “My Sharona”), was first recorded in 1979 in a college bathroom. Since then, Weird Al has released such classics as “Eat It” (“Beat It”), “Like a Surgeon” (“Like A Virgin”) and “Amish Paradise” (“Gangsta’s Paradise”). Through Weird Al’s prolific parody work he gained fame in the 1980s and 1990s leading many people to dub Al the “king of parody.”

A handful of songs off “Weird: The Al Yankovic Story – Original Soundtrack” are re-recorded 2022 versions of classic and cherished Weird Al songs. These all get a nice glow-up, with a new updated clean and glossy finish. It is evident that work was put into not just re-releasing these songs, but also giving them extra production value and flare. Weird Al’s signature accordion work on “My Bologna”, “I Love Rocky Road” and “Another One Rides the Bus” is as lively and fresh as ever. Weird Al plays fast and loose, sometimes manic, and his iconic accordion work is always a source of joy for me. Weird Al’s vocal performance is also worth noting. It is fun and energetic with loads of character and inflection that lends itself well to the humor in his songs.  

Weird Al Yankovic’s new song, “Now You Know”, is played over the credits and is one doozy of a jam. This song boasts some classic rock guitar riffs, crisp drums, soulful vocal backing and two fake-out endings. Weird Al sings about how factual the movie was with a wink, “If it’s in a movie, it’s gotta be true!” He also breaks the fourth wall several times pointing out people in the credits and how long the song seems to go on for. “Now You Know” is good for a laugh, but being the only new original Weird Al song on the soundtrack, I do feel a bit disappointed wishing there had been more new work from Al.

The album also has many instrumental tracks by Birenberg and Robinson that can be fun to listen to while working on something else. “Demento’s Pool Party” in particular is a song I can see myself listening to in passing in the future. 

Given Weird Al’s involvement in the movie, I think fans were hoping for more from the acclaimed musician than one new song and some re-recorded versions of old songs. The album is lovely, but for fans looking for a new full length Weird Al album, they will have to continue waiting.

“Weird: The Al Yankovic Story – Original Soundtrack” can be purchased in CD or vinyl form off of Weird Al’s website, weirdal.com, or listened to on various music streaming services.