(Over)analyze This

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(Over)analyze This

Postby scottidog » Sat May 31, 2003 10:07 pm

I wanted to start a topic to discuss the fine points of how Al writes the parodies, the creative process and wild speculations into the underlying themes/messages in his songs.

I was listening to both Lose Yourself and Couch Potato. Comparing lyrics and rhymes and it's interesting what Al did in writing this parody. He kept the rhythms and rhymes, also he kept a few phrases that really anchor this parody to it's predecessor.

"opens his mouth" is a good example. It works well with his subject, but is in exactly the same place as Em's version. On the other hand, I think it's interesting that he managed to keep "palms are sweaty" but move it and keep it relevant to both his version and the original.
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Postby minnick27 » Sun Jun 01, 2003 1:42 am

well this topic i awesome. I was doing some surfing over at www.zappa.com and came across this, which I was going to post in one of the other GiF threads, but itworks good here:


Genius In France," Broken Down
Here, I've Broken down the song from "Weird Al" Yankovic's New CD "Poodle Hat" to the Zappa related stuff. The bold texts are mp3 samples (and 3 of them are unknown riffs.)

00:00:00 - somebody laughs. To me, this sounds similar to the vocal bits on Läther.
00:00:01 - Dweezil Zappa, Frank Zappa's son opens up the song with a electric guitar into
00:00:15: "Well" - spoken by Al. Reminds me of the low vocals on FZ's doo-wop cover and original songs.
00:00:19: some keyboard playing. Sounds a little like what George Duke played when FZ introduced Duke on the Canada 1973 Concert.
00:00:45: "Hoom chaka laka hoom chaka laka hoom chaka" - the drum track played during this line sounds a lot like the drum track played during the "Holy Mackrel Now! Holy Mackrel Now!" bit from
the title track of FZ?s album YOU ARE WHAT YOU IS (the THING-FISH version of the YOU ARE WHAT YOU IS song had "See de Mammy Now! See de Mammy Now!")
00:01:01: a sound effect is played here that sounds a lot like the sound made before the solo on KEEP IT GREASY from JOE?S GARAGE ACTS II & III, and the sound made after the solo on PICK ME, I?M CLEAN from TINSEL-TOWN REBELLION.
00:01:08: "Butneverthelessandinspiteoftheevidenceiamconsideredtobea geniusinfrance" - same kind of vocal treatments are on THE ADVENTURES OF GREGGARY PECCARY from LÄTHER - "... All Those Little Toys, We?re Busy Makin' 'Em. busymakinemwe'rebusymakinemjustforyou ... yoo-hoo-hooo!", and MONTANA from OVER-NITE SENSATION - "I'm Pluckin' De Ol' Dennil Floss, Even If you think it is a little silly, folks. Idon'tcareifyouthinkitssillyfolksidon'tcareifyouthinkitssilly, folks."
00:01:17: some digital sound effects, a snork (the noise first appeared on the FZ/Ray Collins single HOW?S YOUR BIRD, released before Frank was even famous. It then appeared on several MOTHERS OF INVENTION albums from the late ?60s, most notebly WE?RE ONLY IN IT FOR THE MONEY), and some percussion effects similar to Frank?s Cough Drop commercial ("The Big Squeeze" on THE LOST EPISODES)
00:02:10: ?sign my poodle, s'il vous plaif? - see also ?The Poodle Bites, The Poodle Chews It? - from DIRTY LOVE, STINK-FOOT and the BOSTON MUSIC HALL (Unreleased Live) Edition of BLACK NAPKINS.
00:03:10: Female vocals singing ?He?s A Genius In France, Genius In France,? with Al saying ?That?s Right!? - see also the japanese phrase ?Ki Ni Shina? from DANCIN? FOOL on the SHEIK YERBOUTI (Shake Your Booty) album, and ?Lalala? from JEWISH PRINCESS - on the same album.
00:03:44: ?I say, 'Oui, oui'? - prounounced ?Wee, Wee? or ?weewee? - used in Zappa?s lyrics to mean (two different meanings) ?penis? and ?urine? (See the ?Your Dick!? scene from 200 MOTELS, the NANOOK RUBS IT section from DON?T EAT THE YELLOW SNOW, and STICK IT OUT from JOE?S GARAGE ACTS II & III.)
00:04:58: ?... But By Some Twist Of Fate, All The Frogs Think I?m Great!? - see also FROGS WITH DIRTY LITTLE LIPS from the THEM OR US album.
00:05:28: ?They?re Snotty and Rude, They Like Disgusting Food.? They Also piss in the street (IN FRANCE again)
00:05:47: Sure sounds like DISCO BOY to me.
00:06:55: I guess this is another riff from Disco Boy.
Can Anyone Identify This?
00:07:08: ?But GREAT GOOGLY-MOOGLY, I?m A Genius In France!? - see also the NANOOK RUBS IT part of DON?T EAT THE YELLOW SNOW.
00:07:50: I Can't Identify This, Either (Sharleena, Maybe?)
00:08:17: ?I'm The Biggest Dork There Ever Is Alive? - see LUIGI AND THE WISE GUYS, the bonus track on the CD edition of THE MAN FROM UTOPIA.
00:08:45: The last guitar part matches the last guitar part on IN FRANCE from THEM OR US, in which JOHNNY GUITAR WATSON says ?Merci baucoup. Oui. Ow!? Al Yankovic says on this song: ?Say ... would you pass the Grey Poupon? Merci beaucoup.?
00:08:56: Song ends



Mike
Talking about music is like fishing about architecture- FZ
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Postby scottidog » Sun Jun 01, 2003 3:12 am

Cool breakdown, Mike. Thanks for sharing.
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Re: (Over)analyze This

Postby Orthography Enthusiast » Fri Jun 06, 2003 6:15 am

I wanted to start a topic to discuss the fine points of how Al writes the parodies, the creative process and wild speculations into the underlying themes/messages in his songs.


Wild speculations? OK, I can do that. 8)

When I went over to bobdylan.com to see what Bob's fans thought of "Bob," I was deeply impressed by the heroic feats of interpretation those loyal fans are continually carrying out in an effort to explicate Dylan's cryptic lyrics. And then I thought, But is Al not worthy of equal devotion, nay, of equal heroism? And the answer of course, is a resounding Yes! So I would like to offer here my own humble effort at unfolding the hidden philosophical and autobiographical meanings of "Bob." This essay is dedicated to all my fellow fans who have never read the weirdal.com FAQs and the Ask Al Archive.
. I need to stress once again that my songs aren't autobiographical, and just because the words are coming out of my mouth, it doesn't mean that I'm expressing my personal views. It's just a joke, folks.


BOB By Al Yankovic
I, man, am regal - a clear allusion to Al's standing as the King of Rock and Roll Accordion and Prince of Parody.

A German am I - as we all know, Al is not German; he's Yugoslavian (especially his hands), Italian and English. This line, therefore, I take to be not an ethnic identification but a musical one, i.e., "a Germ man am I," referring to Al's extremely popular ripped-fishnet, writhing-and-mic-licking performances of "Germs."

Never odd or even
If I had a hi-fi
No, he's not odd or even, he's weird-- and only weird in the "hi-fi" context of his musical career.

Madam, I'm Adam
Too hot to hoot
This reference to the first meeting of the father and mother of the human race may preserve the apocryphal tradition of the second thing Adam said to Eve as they contemplated each other in their brand-new birthday suits.

No lemons, no melon An allusion to Al's decision to downplay writing songs about food for a while?

Too bad I hid a boot Al is perhaps lamenting the fact that the heartfelt plea in "Don't Wear Those Shoes" was "hidden" on his least commercially successful album.

Lisa Bonet Ate No Basil Here we have a true linguistic feat: Al boasts, anagrammatically, about the fact that his song "Ricky" continues to be more popular than its original "Mickey": "Al's one beat Toni Basil!"

Warsaw was raw Is it possible that a previously-unreported incident with an undercooked Polish sausage helped set Al on the path toward vegetarianism?

Was it a car or a cat I saw? Al recalls the blurry days before his LASIK surgery.

Rise to vote, sir Al reminds Bermuda that it's time to submit his ballot for the Grammys.

Do geese see God? One of life's great theological questions, but the geese aren't telling....

"Do nine men interpret" "Nine men," I nod. This ostensible reference to the Supreme Court seems rather out of place in the generally apolitical Yankovic oeuvre, lending some credence to the suggestion that this line has to do with musical interpretation, and refers to the "New Main Street Singers," the "neuftet" in the film, "A Mighty Wind," identified by Al as a recent favorite of his. It's true that the "neuftet" in the film includes both men and women, but you have to allow some scope for poetic license, hey?

Rats live on no evil star Here we have the first of several glancing references to earlier Weird Al compositions, as Al assures us that we need not fear that the attack of the radioactive hamsters from a planet near Mars will be followed by any other invasions of interstellar rodents.

Won't lovers revolt now? A reference to "I'm So Sick Of You." The answer to this musical question, clearly, is "Yes."

Race fast, safe car A hope, probably unfounded, that speed will mitigate the dangers described in "She Drives Like Crazy."

Pa's a sap
Ma is as selfless as I am
May a moody baby doom a yam?
This three-line meditation on the "parent and child" theme is difficult to interpret. It is unlikely that the first line refers to Nick Yankovic; how could a father who bought an accordion for his beloved son, thereby launching him on a wildly successful career as a recording artist, possibly be described as a "sap?" Al may be envisioning his own nuclear family life in a somewhat unhopeful light, picturing future ill-fated attempts to introduce the bright-orange food group into Nina's diet. Don't borrow trouble, Al. It will all work out OK.

Ah, Satan sees Natasha Another of those penetrating pop-culture insights of Al's, as he bears witness to the innate evil of Boris' companion in dirty-tricks espionage from the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show. We know Al's a fan of Rocky and Bullwinkle; why else would he have chosen a drummer for his band who's the namesake of the inventor of Hush A Boom, the silent explosive?

No devil lived on
Lonely Tylenol
This may be either a revisiting of the medieval question of how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, or else a reference to the notorious Tylenol product-tampering poisoning case. Of course, with all the decapitation going on in Al's work, headache remedies seem kind of superfluous, don't they?

Not a banana baton Al is still regretting that when he showed up to guest-conduct the California Junior Philharmonic Orchestra all those years ago, he wasn't provided with an appropriate conductorial implement.

No "x" in "Nixon"
O, stone, be not so
Given the fact that almost all reputable historians agree that there is indeed an "x" in "Nixon" it seems probable that the second line of this section ought to be punctuated as follows: "O. Stone, be not so"-- Al is pleading with Oliver Stone not to be quite such an enthusiastic revisionist.

O Geronimo, no minor ego There is no indication as to which ego in the cast of the 1993 movie is referred to here. There were presumably some major ones.

"Naomi," I moan- The first appearance of a recurring theme: Al's fear of having to parody artists who aren't exactly up his own personal musical alley. Here, he recoils at the music of Naomi Judd..

A Toyota's a Toyota A cruise down Memory Lane: Al's old Corolla, painted like a Hawaiian shirt and given away as a promotional stunt.

A dog, a panic in a pagoda This is just such a profound theological song whichever way you look at it, isn't it? . The quintessential existential quandary, Eastern style.

Oh, no! Don Ho! An expression of Al's deep fear of someday having to parody "Tiny Bubbles," a song which already parodies itself.

Nurse, I spy gypsies - run! An expression of Al's deep fear of someday having to parody Cher's "Gypsies, Tramps And Thieves," a song which-- ditto.

Senile felines Could this be Al's covert hint that it might just be time for Def Leppard to give the scratching post a rest?

Now I see bees I won. Again, this line should perhaps be punctuated differently, to wit: "Now I see B's I won"-- becoming a reference to the "parabolic decline" of Al's grade point average at Cal Poly as architecture lost whatever enchantment it had once had for him.

UFO tofu Al laments the fact that this nutritious vegetarian food item still has a rather "spacey" image..

We panic in a pew The quintessential existential quandary, Western style.

Oozy rat in a sanitary zoo Al, the animal lover, foresees more healthful future accommodations for one of the protagonists of "Trash Day."

God! A red nugget! A fat egg under a dog! This is extremely cryptic. "A red nugget!" most probably refers to the planet Mars, which together with the reference to the Deity inevitably puts one in mind of the woozy Transcendent Entity/space-alien/boffo-light-show ending of the film "Mission To Mars." And judging by the sorts of reviews the movie got, it was probably a turkey egg under that dog.

Go hang a salami, I'm a lasagna hog Al ends the song as he began it, with self-identification, conflating his classic songs "Lasagna" and "Let Me Be Your Hog," and perhaps a covert reference as well to "My Bologna," the sausage which formed the first link in his career.

There. I hope that cleared things up. 8)
It's kind of surrealistic, it doesn't make really a whole lot of sense, it's like, if you listen, you think, well, it kinda, sorta, maybe, no it doesn't, not really, no, it doesn't really make any sense.
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Postby scottidog » Fri Jun 06, 2003 8:25 am

A dog, a panic in a pagoda
OE, this is clearly a veiled reference to the rarely performed verse from BBOTIM. Where the family dog gets inside the make-shift pagoda and "salutes" the famous Twine Ball. This is the real reason the family was ejected by the Security Guards.

Bernie took the camera to sell the deleterious photos to The Midnight Star.

Senile Felines

The Yankovics are considering adopting an older cat to add the the general merriment of the family manse. Because what's merrier than a senile cat, a bird of indeterminate age and a newly famous poodle?
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Postby Orthography Enthusiast » Fri Jun 06, 2003 8:48 am

A dog, a panic in a pagoda
OE, this is clearly a veiled reference to the rarely performed verse from BBOTIM. Where the family dog gets inside the make-shift pagoda and "salutes" the famous Twine Ball. This is the real reason the family was ejected by the Security Guards.

Bernie took the camera to sell the deleterious photos to The Midnight Star.
Why didn't I think of THAT pagoda! And the presence of a dog certainly explains the disquietingly-heavy consumption of pickled weiners.

Senile Felines

The Yankovics are considering adopting an older cat to add the the general merriment of the family manse. Because what's merrier than a senile cat, a bird of indeterminate age and a newly famous poodle?


With a senile cat and a brand-new baby, there should be enough incontinence at Manse Yankovic to rival the Osbournes. Going on tour has got to be looking better and better all the time. :P
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Postby scottidog » Fri Jun 06, 2003 8:53 am

a brand-new baby


I wonder if that contributed to the scatological fascination on PH?
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Postby scottidog » Fri Jun 06, 2003 8:58 am

Just for chuckles I looked up decapitation. There was a reference in a medical dictionary. "Removal of a head." Well, "duh" you say... but is this a common procedure?? Dr. Dad??? :crazy:
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Postby Orthography Enthusiast » Fri Jun 06, 2003 9:05 am

a brand-new baby

I wonder if that contributed to the scatological fascination on PH?


That's a good question. It probably wouldn't apply to the originals, because they were written and recorded before Nina's advent (not that Al couldn't have reasonably foreseen the irruption of infant incontinence into his life), but when, exactly, were the parodies written?
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more on Bob

Postby Jebediah » Fri Jun 06, 2003 7:46 pm

"Never odd or even" must refer to the number 27. 27 is composed of a 2, an even number, and 7, an odd number. Al is never only odd nor only even, but is represented by a number that combines both.
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