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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.