Great Rock Albums of 1988: Weird Al Yankovic- Even Worse

After the critical and commercial disappointment of his album, “Polka Party,” Weird Al thought his career might have been over. As a result, he took some time off before getting back into the studio. It seems that taking his little break paid multi-dividends as “Even Worse” has been his most successful album. Note here, it is typical of Weird Al to call his album “Even Worse” when it was such a good album. Of course, knowing him, Weird Al might have been in the mindframe that if you thought “Polka Party” was bad, maybe this album is even worse. Either way, it had the desired effect.

Track Listing:

  1. Fat- Weird Al was a little reluctant to use this song because he was already being known as that “Eat It Guy” and didn’t want to be accused of riding on Michael Jackson’s coat tails. However, Michael was a big Weird Al fan and encouraged him to record the song. The song is a total parody of Jackson’s iconic song, “Bad” and Michael also let him use the same recording studio to make the video. Only Weird Al used larger dancers in the video. While “Fat” continues to give me giggles whenever I listen to it, I don’t think it would be so successful into today’s ultra-sensitive world.
  2. Stuck in a Closet With Vanna White- This is a true Weird Al original. It doesn’t parody any singer’s song or style but it’s a bit of a rocker as well. I have to admit, guitarists Jim West and Rick Derringer, yes that Rick Derringer, rip a cool guitar solo trade off. The song is about having strange dreams where he’s bowling on the Starship Enterprise and getting pushed through a revolving door by a midget but always stuck in a closet with Vanna White. For those who don’t know, Vanna White is a presenter on the US version of the TV show “Wheel of Fortune.”
  3. (This Song’s Just) Six Words Long: A total parody of the George Harrison single, “Got My Mind Set On You.” Weird Al does try to keep to the spirit of his song as he repeats the lyrics over and over. Maybe that was the point he was trying to make.
  4. You Make Me- From the point of view of my Asperger’s mind, I can see the point Weird Al is trying to make here. Many of us know people who can drive you to wanting to do outrageous things. However, no one has ever made me want to build the Eiffel Tower out of Belgian waffles. Done in the style of Oingo Boingo, it is a bouncy synth pop song but very well done.
  5. I Think I’m a Clone Now- My favourite song on the entire album! It typifies Weird Al at his very best. It’s a total parody of one hit wonder Tiffany’s number one, “I Think We’re Alone Now.” He follows the style Tiffany recorded it but singing about clones is a real hoot. I say I giggle when I hear “Fat,” but I go into total hysterics when I hear this one.
  6. Lasagne- Another funny parody, only this time it’s the Los Lobos classic, “La Bamba” which gets the Weird Al treatment. I have always like how Al sticks to the original music as much as possible but adds his own hilarious lyrics to it. Anyone, like me, who loves good Italian food can appreciate the lyrics here.
  7. Melanie- Another original, “Melanie” is about a love struck teenager who stalks a girl who is not interested in him in the very least. However, if you pay attention to the lyrics, there is a dark message related to teenage mental health as the singer commits suicide at the end because the girl doesn’t want to know him. Some will balk that mental health is no laughing matter but if Weird Al can use his humourous lyrics to address a problem, then why not listen? Sorry, I’ll get off my soapbox now.
  8. Alimony- Weird Al goes live on this one where he parodies Billy Idol’s “Mony Mony.” If Weird Al sounds this good live, then I definitely regret never seeing him. Still, it’s a funny song about a money grabbing ex wife.
  9. Velvet Elvis- For me, this is probably the least strongest track on the album, though it’s not bad. Done in the style of The Police, it does have a good dig at Elvis Presley enthusiasts.
  10. Twister- Weird Al raps here in Beastie Boys style as he pays tribute to the game “Twister.” How many children’s parties have you gone to where they play Twister? It does show how versatile he can be and that he’s not afraid to venture into unknown territories. It also proves that nothing is safe from being a Weird Al parody.
  11. Good Old Days- The album ends with my vote for hidden gem. “Good Old Days” is done in the easy listening style of James Taylor and it’s about a young psychopath reminiscing about his younger days. He begins by torturing rats with a hacksaw and pulling the wings off of flies, then to burning down the local store and bashing in the owner’s head to finally, tying his date to the dance to a chair, shaving off her hair and leaving her in the desert. Only Weird Al can sing songs like that and leave you with a big grin on your face.
Vanna White
Weird Al Yankovic

Weird Al Yankovic- vocals, accordion, keyboards

Jim West- guitar, mandolin, backing vocals

Steve Jay- bass, banjo, backing vocals

Jon ‘Bermuda’ Schwartz- drums, percussion

Rick Derringer- guitar

I don’t think this was an official video for the song as “Attack of the Clones” came out 14 years after the song but I think Mike Ladano will get a kick out of the Star Wars reference.

Weird Al Yankovic was definitely back and on fine form in 1988 as “Even Worse” shows. His album is not only a bowl full of laughs but the musicianship on it is first rate as well.

Next post: Pat Benatar- Wide Awake in Dreamland

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

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10 Responses to “Great Rock Albums of 1988: Weird Al Yankovic- Even Worse”

  1. Awesome album. He found his footing again and he delivered. I don’t usually like everything he does which is why a greatest hits compilation for him is all I need.

    Liked by 1 person

    • He definitely found his footing with this album and there is usually one song on his albums which don’t rank with the others, on this one it was “Velvet Elvis.” But he has some good hidden gems on many of them too.

      Like

  2. It’s been a minute since I’ve played the whole album but he did really get it right on here. Fat was hilarious and Alimony was great. Much of the rest has faded from my memory at this point but I know I enjoyed it way back when, don’t see why I wouldn’t now.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love Weird Al! Glad you covered this!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wore this cassette out as a kid. The “Even Worse” title is referring to Michael Jackson’s “Bad”. MJ is Bad. This is even worse. Ha ha, Al. Fun Fact: “Bad” and “Even Worse” were the first two cassettes I got as a kid. Since I only got music at Christmas and my Birthday, in December, they made up the entirety of my cassette collection for a year.

    Liked by 1 person

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