Word Crimes, the Weird Al Yankovic song where Weird Al Yankovic tries to pretend he is Nirvana or Lady Googoo or whoever trying to pretend they are him, bluntly put, sucks.
(Before we go any further, know that what follows is a response of sorts to articles like this one that were written in complaint about Word Crimes. As much as I might sound like I do not believe this at times during this response, I have no wish to attack the people making the complaint. This is about the complaint and the way it has been made.)
Alfred Yankovic, know that I am serious when I say that you do not owe anyone an apology except people who enjoy clever satire. That is, people who find RoboCop (not robot cop for babies) funny. But I have a piece of advice concerning Word Crimes that you should have either heard of followed during the finalisation of Mandatory Fun. Delete it (Word Crimes, that is). Take the masters, set them on fire, basically, take the song out of circulation. It sucks.
Okay, I am out of breath. Let me wind the clock back a bit.
No, the Oxford Comma is not a “matter of preference”, politically correct critics. If that were so, then the following images would not be necessary:
This is a linguistically inclined autistic adult who could read at what you call an adult level, political correctness brigade, when he was still sussing out this walking business speaking. The fact that I used the Oxford comma when I was three years old and will still use it if I get to be three hundred years old proves Al Yankovic right and you wrong about that one. So when you do criticise Word Crimes, kindly do us a favour. Do not go too far. Focus on what is really wrong with the song. Enough is wrong with the song without you going after false positives like Al rightly pointing out that the Oxford comma is left out by idiots who think sentences always read the same no matter how they are written.
By the way, political correctness brigade, you are all assholes. (No, not people with assholeness. Assholes. Axl Rose said it best as far as I am concerned: The truth is the truth hurts, don’t you agree? It’s harder to live with the truth about you than it is to live with the lies about me.)
Okay, now that I have got all of that out of the way, Word Crimes. This is Word Crimes:
If you have noticed something wrong, then you are not alone. Remove Weird Al’s voice altogether. Remove every voice from this song. This is the true test, by the way, of whether that song you think is “coooool” is worth wiping your butt with. Take away the part that is easiest to make distinctive, and see how identifiable it is then.
Admittedly, it does not go so far as to use the everysongontheradioin1990beat:
(Yes, the man singing in this video is John Farnham. Yes, he sucks. He sucks for the same reason pretty much every other “artist” on the radio at that time sucks. Take away his admittedly beautiful voice. What is there left to sell the recording on the basis of?)
You know the one I mean. The one where it sounds like every single second ends with a bish-up-butt sound from the cymbals. Full credit is due to Weird Al for not having sunk so far as to make his worst song sound like every other song on the “radio” when it is bereft of his voice (I do not know who else is on that song, but members of his band sound like the likely candidates).
But in order to understand my point, it is necessary to hear Alfred Matthew Yankovic at his best. In terms of knowing what stylistic trick to use when, Smells Like Nirvana (come on, Al, you know nothing stank that much (not kidding)):
And a moment where he manages to accomplish something that other “artists” who get mentioned by the traditional media’s attempts to rape the Internet make look impossible. That is, he manages to make his own voice and what he says with it just as important as the music behind it. Behold, Bob (for reasons best known to Google, the official video is not available in “my country”):
Now, at this point, you are probably wondering why I have posted this much video and image. Or you might be hearing my voice singing “which of these things is not like the other?” in your head repeatedly.
These last two songs I have shared with you do not suck. Oh, do not get me wrong. Smells Like Teen Spirit on a compositional level sucks like a porn star. But as time capsules that demonstrate what a bunch of suckers we all were in 1993, Smells Like Nirvana is without equal. Henry Rollins was more direct: slender messiah, god with a song, turned burned-out wreck who stuck around too long. But Weird Al did something with Smells Like Teen Spirit that other artists find impossible with pop material. That is, he grabbed it by the neck and dragged it, kicking and screaming, upwards into a level we call art.
If Simon Gruer is reading this, Smells Like Nirvana is where I got the idea of making a song with a kazoo in it. The doom metal band that makes a doomy kazoo solo is the future of doom metal. Yes, that is a challenge, doom metal community.
Now, it is like, I am still recovering from another precipitous drop in my blood glucose level, and I feel like I am hungover. So I am going to get right to the point here.
Yes, there are people who have difficulties with the English language due to learning difficulties or it simply not being their first language. I am sure that Weird Al would agree with me that mocking them on the basis of learning difficulties or English being their second language is crass, unwarranted, and cruel.
But whether you like this or not, there is a whole cadre of people out there who have no such excuses, and flat-out refuse to learn. They think that this somehow makes them “cooooool”. You know, that “coooool” that the RIAA used to tell them every so often they could have in the form of a manufactured disc for only twenty to thirty bucks? Do you really aim to give those fashion victims a free pass simply because your delicate sensibilities cannot overlook a misguided lapse of talent?
If so, then I will remember this the next time you call me a “person with autism” or similar. Because if Weird Al does not have the right to joke about how fashionable it is to sound by one’s own conscious choice like one is legally retarded when speaking what may well be their first language, then you do not have the right to say things to me that aggravate my PTSD symptoms. You get how this works yet, normies?
No, if you are going to complain about Word Crimes, then as Abraham Bernstein (Leonardo Cimino) said so well, if you are going to do it, do it right.
Word Crimes, minus the complaints about its subject matter that Alfred Yankovic handled in a mind-bogglingly clumsy manner, is a crap song. It sounds like the lyrics and arrangement were made in an afternoon during a desperate recording session to get the album past the thirty-five minute mark. In satire terms, it is a Steve Vizard or a David Zucker, as opposed to the Paul Verhoeven and Ed Neumeier on their best day that would be proud to hold hands with Bob.
But then, when the politically correct are eager to get used by the neo-RIAA for publicity purposes, expecting them to do something right or even lift their game is a big ask.
To be a fly on the wall when the decision was made to fish Word Crimes out the bin. Did Lars Ulrich visit you in the studio at some point during the Mandatory Fun sessions, Al?
In closing, there is a way to satirise and verbally crucify people who “talk stupid enough”, to paraphrase the way I said it when I was a boy. Try to tell a story in which their language is used exclusively. Reword a good song (any My DyING BRIDE song from 1991 to 1994 or 2001 will suffice) into “talk stupid enough”. Hell, reword a Frank Zappa masterpiece like Stink-Foot into “talk stupid enough”. Tell the story of an intelligent man being sentenced to death for not “talking stupid enough”.
But please, never again offer us this kind of offal and call it satire.