“Weird Al” Yankovic: Alpocalypse HD

'Weird Al' Yankovic - Alpocalypse HDSynopsis: Includes: Perform This Way, CNR, TMZ, Skipper Dan, Polka Face!, Craigslist, Party In The C.I.A., Ringtone, Another Tattoo, If That Isn’t Love, Whatever You Like, Stop Forwarding That Crap To Me. Bonus: the 3 videos from Straight Outta Lynwood that haven’t made it to disc yet – Trapped in the Drive-Thru,” “Do I Creep You Out,” and yes, for the first time ever, “White & Nerdy” in beautiful high definition!
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“Weird Al” Yankovic: Alpocalypse HD 7.0

eyelights: the originality and diversity of the videos. the lyrical content.
eyesores: the cheapness of the videos. the “Weird Al” formula.

If you’re wondering what the heck “Weird Al” Yankovic’s ‘Alpocalypse HD’ is, you’re not alone. Even as a MEGA “Weird Al” fan, I was left bewildered by it when I found it in a second-hand store; I had no idea what this was. And online searches weren’t helping anything: most reviews or summaries of it actually referred to the “Weird Al” live show that was also released on Blu-ray.

All I knew was that it appeared to have all the music videos for the songs on ‘Alpocalypse’, “Weird Al”‘s latest effort, along with the three videos from the previous album. Thing is, ‘Alpocalypse’ came with a DVD with videos for 10 of the tracks, so I wondered why it would be worth buying this BD for the two missing songs and the bonus ones. I was thinking that perhaps lossless audio might be an option, but I couldn’t confirm that there was uncompressed audio on it anywhere online.

So I bought it anyway, seeing that the back of the box claimed that there was a PCM stereo track, which should be uncompressed. I figured that, even if the videos suck (as many online comments seemed to suggest), I would have the Al-bum in high resolution audio. That’d be a plus. Of course, I don’t know why I would care, because “Weird Al” doesn’t get enough spin at my home these days to warrant it, but the I’m a fan of hi-res audio – it just sounds so good.

Anyway, I’m happy to report that the BD looks and sounds fantastic. Yes, some of the videos are really cheap-looking and, thus, don’t look that great in hi-def, but it’s as good one can get – and it plays the album in its entirety and continuously, which is pretty awesome if you’re a fan.

Personally, I was a mild fan of the album (I gave it a 7.75). I find that “Weird Al” has become formulaic with his recent releases and I find them less and less memorable. There’s always one or two tracks that I adore, but they’re largely okay and that’s it. Still, this video collection, for me was a lot of fun to watch – if only because of the variety of styles its many contributors brought to the table:

1. “Perform This Way“: This song is a spoof of Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” and it takes the p!$$ out of her image. It’s peculiar to see Yankovic’s face superimposed digitally over a female dancer, but it more or less works. It’s a fun song, and excellent video, even if it’s more a distillation of her work than an actual spoof of hers – my only thing is the lyric  “Perform This Way”, which sounds awkward and doesn’t seems like a lazy rhyme. 7.5

2. “CNR“: I don’t have any idea who Charles Nelson Reilly, but this Chuck Norris Facts-type riff on him was really amusing nonetheless – just knowing how exaggerated it was made it amusing. And the music is an excellent White Stripes rip off: “Weird Al”‘s band does it again – they’re so versatile. As for the video, it’s low-budget, cheap but amusing in a Terry Gilliam kind of way. 7.5

3. “TMZ“: This is a spoof of Taylor Swift’s “You belong With Me”, which I’ve never heard. But I love Yankovic’ s commentary on TMZ and the intrusion of the media in our daily lives; it’s worth poking fun of. This one is highlighted by an enjoyable hand-drawn video which isn’t especially eye-catching, but has a pretty quality to it that I like. 7.0

4. “Skipper Dan“: This is a generic “Weird Al” song musically and thematically, but I love the subject: people with big dreams who end up doing very small things – and forever regret their lives for it. Misplaced ambition is worth making fun of too, I think. The video is a bit too cheap for me, however. It’s not so much the look (which isn’t great, but it’s okay…), it’s how choppy the animation is. 6.5

5. “Polka Face“: This one is the traditional polka medley that “Weird Al” always puts on his albums (almost – I think the only place he didn’t do that was for ‘Alapalooza’). What’s great about this is the choice of pop songs, which made it silly, combined with a different style of animation for each song bit. That was brilliant. 8.5

6. “Craigslist“: This one’ s not animated and it’s a spoof on The Doors, both musically and stylistically. It’s a bit low budget for a video, but it sounds good, with the band again in top form. And the lyrics about those people who make a living by selling crap online are pretty funny. 6.5

7. “Party in the CIA“: This is a spoof of Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the USA”, which was catchy but vacuous – so it was worth spoofing, but it sounds really crummy, two-dimensional. Is it because of the original, or is it this recording that sucks?  Anyway, the lyrics are awesome, being a commentary on CIA activities/operations; it’s both topical and makes for an excellent contrast with the emptiness of the music. The animated video is alright. 7.0

8. “Ringtone“: While I agree that people’s annoying ringtones is something worth spoofing, I don’t much like the song. I also like the idea of the video, but the execution could be better. Meh.  6.5

9. “Another Tattoo“: This is a parody of a B.o.B. song called “Nothin’ on You”, which I haven’t yet heard. I love the subject, which is today’s obsession with getting as many tattoos as possible – something I find ridiculous to the max. However, I don’t like the song that much, and the video, while on the right track, somehow didn’t do much for me. 6.75

10. “If That Isn’t Love“: Another phenomenal love song from “Weird Al”. This is a list of examples that a guy comes up with to prove that he’s in love – and it’s all so lame that it’s really funny. Yankovic has, over the years, penned some of the greatest satires of love songs ever. I don’t know if it’s because he finds love songs corny or if he’s tapping into his personal life, but his versions are stellar. The video is so-so, however, even though it also contributed a joke or two. 6.75

11. “Whatever You Like“: This is a parody of “Whatever You Like” by T.I. I love the lyrics: it’s about a penny-pincher who makes grand promises of giving his paramour anything she wants – but he does it on the cheap (“Let’s send out for pizza tonight and you can order any toppings you like”). Hilarious. The video is really low budget but it’s super inspired, filling the screen with its own awesome gags. The combo of the two works like a one-two punch. 8.25

12. “Stop Forwarding That Crap to Me“: I love this song because it sounds like a ballad, but instead it takes the p!ss out of forwarding junk mail – a pain in the @$$ of most of us (Including my friends, very likely… sorry folks!). The video is extremely rudimentary, though. Appropriate, but bland as heck. 7.0

Bonus videos:
White and Nerdy“:  A parody of Chamilionaire’s “Ridin'”, and it’s one of “Weird Al”‘s best songs in the last decade. Not only does it poke fun at nerds in a cool, suburban culture, it also legitimizes them because most of the things that he brings up are familiar to any geek worth their salt. And the video itself is an excellent production. Perfect. Brilliant, even.  8.5

Do I Creep You Out?“:  This is a parody of Taylor Hicks’ “Do I Make You Proud”. I love the song, even though making fun of stalkers is probably a bit touchy. The things this guy does (“I like to feel the warm spot on your chair”) are indeed creepy, though. As for the video, it’s well done and it contributes a few sight gags worth noting. 8.25

Trapped in the Drive-Thru“: This is a parody of “Trapped in the Closet” by R. Kelly. I hate the music on it, because it’s so simplistic and repetitive that it drives me crazy. But I love how banal the story is – somewhat painfully so. I’m surprised that a full video of this 11-minute epic was made, but it was made on the cheap as well (which is fine: given the material,  it does the trick). The only really noteworthy thing about this track is the phenomenal bass line that keep rumbling through the speakers. You need a good system to really get the vibe, though. 6.0

Anyway, all this to say that, in the end, I am pleased  with this video collection. I don’t know how often I’ll spin it, but I will no doubt show it off to a few friends – to the “Weird Al” fans and to the animation fans alike. It has some replay value, I think, even if it will be somewhat limited. At the very least, I know that “White and Nerdy” will rumbles my speakers from time to time.

It would be nice to get the whole “Weird Al” video collection in HD, though. And how about ‘The Compleat “Weird Al”‘?  Someday, maybe?

Date of Viewing: February 3, 2013

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