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Hooked on Polkas

Posted: Mon Jun 30, 2014 8:27 pm
Not the best polka... but not the worst. It's not much better than "Polka Party!". :?

Re: Hooked on Polkas

Posted: Mon Jul 14, 2014 6:48 am
by Good Enough For Now
Alright, it's time to throw down. I've been reading a lot of negative comments about the older polkas, in particular this one, and I'm mystified! I was sure it couldn't just be my nostalgia blinding me to the lousiness of the early polkas, so I sat down and listened to "Hooked on Polkas". It's unbelievably amazing. There's tons of variety, lots of sound effects, and it's just a heck of a lot of fun.

I heard most of these songs for the first time in this polka. Some of them were on my parents' records, but some of them I had to wait until the internet existed to look them up! I only ever had the cassette and it didn't list the individual song titles.

I believe "The Compleat Al" has that bizarre video of the guy singing "State of Shock"? Well, it sounds better here. :lol: Not even sure I've ever heard the original version, but I love how this kicks things off. The entrance of (Steve Jay's!) banjo for "Sharp-Dressed Man" is genius, and it's followed by a nice wacky sound effects section. "What's Love Got to Do With It?" has Al exercising his delicate female voice, and the quick "Method of Modern Love" segment serves as a high energy transition to "Owner of a Lonely Heart". Then he references the synth sound from the original "OoaLH" after a pause, which has another nice fill/percussive segue to "We're Not Gonna Take It" - a great example of Al switching from his "high & happy" voice to his "low & sleazy" voice. Love the trumpet (?) line after this part, and the little bit before "99 Red Luftballoons" (aka "some German song, I guess?" until the internet educated me). How often does Al sing in another language?

The "breakdown in the middle" has become a staple of the polkas (my friend insists on singing "Hot Blooded" over ANY of the polkas I play for him - makes me wish I had a crowbar handy...) and "Footloose" works great here. It actually picks up to the proper tempo while still playing the same song, which I'm not sure is typical. "The Reflex" has yet another Al voice that I'm not sure we've ever heard again! (aka "what the..?!" until the internet...) Then a rise to "Bang Your Head", with another well-utilized sound effect. By the time it hits "Relax", I'm up off my feet, heart pumping, hands clapping...dare I say the suggestive nature of the "when you wanna come" climax is intentional?

Anyway - go back and listen to this one, folks! Al uses a multitude of voices, there are some great sound effects, it's SUPER high energy, and it was only his second try! Obviously I have to give the band a huge amount of credit too.

However...I actually came here to ask if somebody could explain the "Hooked on.." part of the title. I get the "Polkas on 45" reference and I assume this is similar, but eh? I know I could Google, but maybe we could all learn together. ON THE JACKSON PARK EXPRESS!! (uuh.. :ph34r:)

Re: Hooked on Polkas

Posted: Mon Jul 14, 2014 7:41 am
by Big Spoon
The title is a reference to Hooked On Classics, a record in which snippets of classical music pieces are played together in a continuous, disco-y style.

Re: Hooked on Polkas

Posted: Mon Jul 14, 2014 8:43 am
by Good Enough For Now
Thank you! That sounds..bizarre.

Re: Hooked on Polkas

Posted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 7:59 am
by Good Enough For Now
What, you're all still listening to Mandatory Fun? That album is sooo last week. Let's discuss this 30-year-old polka instead! :P

Re: Hooked on Polkas

Posted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 5:59 pm
by Bruce the Duck
I don't have a problem with this polka at all. Honestly, most of the ones that I rank higher are only ranked higher due to recency bias. Most of Al's polkas are on equal footing for me.

On the other hand, there are things in an individual polka that make it stand out. Those things include smoother transitions (as in NOW), beginning and ending with the same song (as in PF), false starts (TAP, PYEO, BP), thematic polkas (TAP, BP, THRP, AWBP).

But what works better than anything is when Al uses more angst-filled originals in his polkas (AWBP & TAP). "Gangnam Style" is already a happy, upbeat song. The contrast of songs like "Closer" and "Down With the Sickness" makes those other polkas stronger for me.

Re: Hooked on Polkas

Posted: Fri Jul 10, 2015 9:54 pm
by Muldernscully
Polkas work better for me when I know and like the songs in them. I know most of the songs from this polka, so I probably like it more than some polkas. That being said, polkas are not songs I search for when listening to Al, so they all kind of average for me. I give it 3 out of 5 stars.

Re: Hooked on Polkas

Posted: Thu Aug 20, 2015 5:28 am
by Yankomaniac

Re: Hooked on Polkas

Posted: Tue Oct 17, 2017 6:24 pm
by Heds
So, while I’m absolutely loving Yes thanks to a good pal, does anybody else want to come along and say that they would definitely pay money for a full polka version of “Owner Of A Lonely Heart” by Al?

Not to mention that the original track was produced by the one and only Trevor Horn of Buggles fame!