Great Rock Albums of 1986: Weird Al Yankovic- Polka Party

220px-Weird-Al-Yankovic-Polka-Party

“Polka Party” by Weird Al Yankovic was one of those albums I missed in 1986 because it was released in the US after I had gone to England. For most people in the UK, Weird Al is considered a one hit wonder best known for his Michael Jackson parody, “Eat It.” However, I do know he does have a bit of a cult following here. After all, it was an English friend who alerted me to his succeeding album which was better than this one. But that’s saved for 1988.

Maybe the fact that “Polka Party” is considered one of his worst albums both critically and commercially is another reason why news of it never reached the shores of Great Britain. While I might agree that it’s far from his best album, there are still some really good things on it to talk about. It was nominated for a Grammy for best comedy album.

Parodies come through straight away on “Polka Party,” opening with “Living With a Hernia” which takes off on James Brown’s “Living in America” from the “Rocky IV” soundtrack. It is done really well. Another cool parody coming two songs later is the parody of Robert Palmer’s “Addicted to Love” called “Addicted to Spuds” where Weird Al sings about someone who really likes potatoes. This is significant because at the time, one critic stated that his parodies were of songs which would be forgotten in a couple of years. Has anyone really forgotten, “Addicted to Love?” Other parodies include “Here’s Johnny” which was a parody of “Who’s Johnny” from El Debarge. A song that I had forgotten about and could be considered outdated because the song also parodies then announcer from the “Tonight Show,” Ed McMahon, who is famous for introducing the show by saying “Here’s Johnny!”

Some of Weird Al’s originals are parodies as well. “Dog Eat Dog” is done in the style of the Talking Heads’ “Once in a Lifetime” and it is a rip at the yuppie corporate life of the 1980s. Likewise, “Good Enough for Now” is a dig at country music love songs and “Christmas at Ground Zero” is a take off of Phil Specter Christmas songs. Released as a single for Christmas in 1986, some radio stations refused to play it because they argued that nuclear destruction was not an appropriate song for Christmas. Hey, I think it’s a funny song but there were a lot of killjoys around in the 1980s.

Like his previous albums before this, there is the usual snippets of rock songs set to polka music, which gives the title track its name. Most of the songs given the polka treatment were contemporary at the time. Peter Gabriel’s “Sledgehammer,” Phil Collins’ “Secudio,” Madonna’s “Papa Don’t Preach,” Tears for Fears’ “Shout” and Lionel Richie’s “Say You Say Me” are all included. This could be the reason why some critics accused Weird Al of going through the motions with the album, which could be true in the sense that on his next album, there’s no polka tunes.

Track Listing:

  1. Living With a Hernia
  2. Dog Eat Dog
  3. Addicted to Spuds
  4. One of Those Days
  5. Polka Party
  6. Here’s Johnny
  7. Don’t Wear Those Shoes
  8. Toothless People
  9. Good Enough for Now
  10. Christmas at Ground Zero
weirdal

Weird Al Yankovic

Weird Al Yankovic- vocals, accordion, keyboards

rickder

Rick Derringer

Rick Derringer- guitar

Steve Jay- banjo, bass, backing vocals

Jim West- guitar, backing vocals

Jon ‘Bermuda’ Schwartz- drums, percussion

 

Who cares what the so-called critics say? “Polka Party” still has quite a few songs to enjoy and laugh along with.

Next post: The Pretenders- Get Close

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11 Responses to “Great Rock Albums of 1986: Weird Al Yankovic- Polka Party”

  1. Yeah, I kind of agree with the critics. I haven’t gone back to listen to this one…ever.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great cover if anything! lol

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Never got into comedy music

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I liked Weird Al at the time (or rather, in the 90s). But now, not so much.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I remember one song he did that was a parody of Michael Jackson’s “Bad” when I was a teen, “Fat”. And the first verse had me cracking up “My butt is wide…” It’s not on this album, I think it came out in 88′ maybe! He was a big hit in the late 80’s.

    Liked by 1 person

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