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Daniel J. Hamlow
- Publié sur Amazon.com
After the middle-of-the-road Even Worse, Al made a movie, UHF, now a cult 80's film, and the soundtrack to it shows him back in form. How many hours did Mr. Yankovic lie awake thinking about how to incorporate the lyrics to the Beverly Hillbillies song to Dire Straits' "Money For Nothing". Mark Knopfler was generous enough, as he also did the guitar for this song!
"Gandhi II" is a TV trailer from the UHF movie. "Next week, on U62, he's back, and this time he's mad. No more Mr. Passive Resistance" and it's done to the melody from Shaft by Isaac Hayes.
"Attack of the Radioactive Hamsters from A Planet Near Mars." Yes, sounds like the title of a bad 1950's UFO movie and if you ever heard "Slime Creatures From Outer Space" from Dare To Be Stupid, you get the idea what kind of song it is. I wonder if Al had a pet hamster and was staring at intently enough to come up with a wacky song. Hamsters the size of a blimp, who play electric guitars, and "think the whole stinkin' world is their exercise wheel"... wow!
"Isle Thing" incorporates a TV song with Tone-Loc's "Wild Thing" and Al's mimicking Mr. Loc's voice is simply funny. "I'm watching that Gilligan's Isle Thing" is the tag line to the chorus. His commentary on the various characters is great, as he says that Ginger and Maryann could've used some funky cold medina. And on the Professor, "If he's so fly, then tell me why he couldn't build a lousy raft?" Hasta la vista, little buddy!
Polka time, and this time it's all Rolling Stones song. "The Hot Rocks Polka" consists of a medley of "It's Only Rock And Roll", "Brown Sugar", "You Can't Always Get What You Want", "Honky Tonky Women", "Under My Thumb", "Ruby Tuesday", "Miss You", "Sympathy For The Devil", "Get Off Of My Cloud", "Shattered", "Let's Spend The Night Together", and "I Can't Get No Satisfaction."
The title track is another TV song and invites the listener to become a couch potato because "we got it all on UHF." However, don't watch too much, as Al sings "You can sit around and stare at the picture tube/'til your brain turns into cottage cheese."
"Let Me Be Your Hog" is a brief bluesy-rocker that gets cut off and segues into his parody of Fine Young Cannibals' "She Drives Me Crazy", which is "She Drives Like Crazy." The driving-challenged girl here does "eighty...in second gear" and "got [her] license from Cracker Jacks." Auto sound effects are used here.
"Generic Blues" is a George Thorogood-like blues rock parody of the usual subjects of blues songs and even mixes things up around: "My daddy was a waitress/my mama sold bathroom tile/my brothers and sisters all hated me/'cause I was an only child." Funniest line: "I'd flush myself right down the toilet/but I'd just clog up the drain."
"Spatula City" is a commercial for spatulas of every shape, size, and colour, "Fun Zone" is a skippy instrumental--was it used in the movie as a prelude for a TV show?
"Spam" is a send-up of R.E.M.'s "Stand", much more developed than Monty Python's spam song to be sure.
The country-ish "The Biggest Ball OF Twine in Minnesota" starts another Al tradition--meandering marathon goofy story songs. Well, that's where the protagonists' kids want to go. It does indeed make one wonder, "Ohhh, what on earth would make a man decide to do that sort of thing/Ohhh, windin' up 21,140 pounds of string/What was he tryin' to prove?/Who was he tryin' to impress?" and other such questions.
After a slight dip that lowered with Even Worse, UHF is Even Better, as it shows Al back in silly form. Maybe doing the movie helped. Al's second wind would continue with his next album, and brother, was he really off the deep end.
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- Publié sur Amazon.com
Disclaimer -- I write this review without having seen the movie "UHF" for myself. I own the movie, but have not yet had a chance to watch it. Still, I've been making it a mission to listen to every "Weird Al" CD (or at least his albums that aren't compilations), and "UHF: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack and Other Stuff" was next on the list as his sixth album. I figured that I could still enjoy the music without having seen the movie, and that even if it wasn't considered one of his better albums, I could still find something to enjoy in it. Even his mediocre albums have at least two or three songs that are hilarious and fun.
I have to agree that this isn't one of Al's better albums, and there are a few bits that don't make sense out of the context of the movie. But I still had a lot of fun listening to it, and there are a few songs on this album that I love, including one that I'd rank among his best.
Word of warning to those wanting the movie's orchestral score -- there's only one instrumental track on this album, "Fun Zone," and it's written by Al himself instead of the film's composer. It's still a fun and upbeat number, but if you're looking for the actual score, you won't find it here. (I don't even know if it's available, sadly...)
There are only four parodies on this album, but all are enjoyable to listen to. My favorite of these parodies would have to be "She Drives Like Crazy," his take on Fine Young Cannibals' "She Drives Me Crazy." His parody is very stylistically similar to the original, save some comedic engine and tire-squealing sounds. The other parodies are pretty fun as well, and focus on two of his favorite parody subjects -- TV and food. Said parodies are "Isle Thing," a tribute to and gentle ribbing of "Gilligan's Island" and a parody of Tone-Loc's "Wild Thing;" "Money For Nothing/Beverly Hillbillies," a similar tribute/riffing of "Beverly Hillbillies" and a parody of Dire Straits' "Money For Nothing;" and "Spam," a parody of REM's "Stand" and an ode to the meat-like substance of the same name.
Of the original songs on the soundtrack, the best would have to be "The Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota," a lively ballad about a family taking a road trip to visit the titular landmark. It's a lot of fun and even evokes some personal memories of goofy road trips taken with my own family, and I'd rank it as one of his best original songs. "Attack of the Radioactive Hamsters From a Planet Near Mars" seems to be trying to channel his earlier song "Slime Creatures From Outer Space," but it's a goofy and lighthearted number that doesn't take itself too seriously. And "Generic Blues," while sounding suspiciously similar to his earlier song "Buckingham Blues," is a fun sendup of every blues song you've ever heard. The title song, "UHF," is fun, but perhaps best enjoyed once one has seen the movie. "Let Me Be Your Hog" is a very short (only about fifteen seconds) blurb of a song that's pretty much Al yelling the title to musical accompaniment. Maybe there's a joke behind it that I'm not getting...
There are a couple of skits on this album as well, ones that seem to be lifted straight from the movie -- "Gandhi II" and "Spatula City." While amusing, they're not something I'd listen repeatedly to, and probably work much better in the context of the film. I have a feeling I'm missing out on something when I can't see the visuals accompanying the skits.
And of course, what "Weird Al" album would be complete without a polka medley? This album's medley, "The Hot Rocks Polka," takes a bit of a different route -- instead of simply including a slew of songs popular at the time, it only covers songs by the Rolling Stones, including "Brown Sugar," "Honky Tonk Woman," "Ruby Tuesday," "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction," "Sympathy For the Devil," and others.
While not his best, there are still some worthwhile songs to be had from this album, with "She Drives Like Crazy," "Money For Nothing/Beverly Hillbillies," and "The Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota" being the best songs on the album. But it has some numbers that fall flat as well, and the skits probably work much better in the context of the film. Probably best for the die-hard "Weird Al" fans (like myself).