September 26, 2020

1984-04-08 – The Pittsburgh Press

1984 04 08 The_Pittsburgh_Press_Sun__Apr_8__1984_

By Pete Blahop
The Pittsburgh Prue

’n’ roll has done it again -—
and this time better than
ever.

“Weird Al” Yankovic, the 24-
year-old accordionist who gave in
such hoots as “M Bologna,” “An-
other One Rides e Bus,” “Ricky"
and “Rocky Road,” has a whole
album filled with satiric guns
(“ ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic in D,”
Rock ’n’ Roll Records BFZ 39221).

Yankovic’s pet ploy, like most
musical parodists’, is utting new
words to old songs. He ' Its off the
disc with an ancient parental direc-
tive: “How come you’re always such
a fussy young man? Don’t want no
Cap’n Crunch, don’t want no naisin
bran. Well, don’tcha know that Other
kids are starving in Japan — so eat
it!"

The tune, of course, is “Beat It.”
Yankovic calls his twist “Eat It.”
and it’s becoming almost as big a
favorite among grade-schoolers as
that Michael What’s-his-name who
sings the original.

Yankovic doesn’t let up after that
wacky start, turning Men Without
Hats’ “The Safety Dance” into “The
Brady Bunch,” a diatribe against TV
addicts in general and that saccha-
rine show in particular, and the
Greg Kihn Band’s “Je0pardy” into
“I Lost on Jeopardy,” complete with
show announcer Don Pardo verball
thumbing his nose at the losing cl .

The Police’s “King of Pain” be-
comes “King of Suede,” about the
"fit-any-man-with-anything”_ cloth-
ier who runs “the same old sale as

esterday.” Survivor’s “Eye of the
iger” is “Theme from Rocky
XIII,” in which Rocky is a flabby
ex-pug who runs a deli. The pun on
the original title is outrageous, and,
no. I won’t give it away here.

"Polkas on 45” is the diamond in
Yankovic’s crown. It’s one of those

THE FUNNIEST man in rock

“"hook numbers which blends 1e ' '-
mate polkas like “The Clarinet ol-
ka" and Lawrence Welk’s “Bubbles
in the Wine” with rock like
“Smoke on the Water," “ln—a-
Gadda~Da~Vida” and “Should I Stay
or Should I Go” done polka-styie.
It’s a scream. an utter scream.

“Midnight Star” is the best of
Yankovic’s own compositions. It

hazaons trashy su ket tab-
loi (“The ost of visislivingin

my den,” ‘ ey’re keeping Hitler’s
brain alive inside a jar") and is darn
good rock ’n’ roll on its own.

“Buy Me a Condo,” in which the
reggae musician becomes so Ameri-
canized he sells his Bob Marley
records. cuts his dreadlocks and
throws wienie' roasts and Tupper-
ware parties. isn’t bad either, but
“Nature Trail to Hell,” a shot at
Grade-Z horror flicks, is too heavy-
handed. Satire is a scalpel, not a
hludgeon.

What all the gags tend to obscure
is that Yankovic and friends are
marvelously talented musicians.
The parodies are performed amaz-
ingly accurately, on “The Brady
Bunch," for instance, Yankovic has
Ivan Doroschuk’s yelping delivery
down pat.

“I can’t do serious songs," he
says. “Whatever I write always ends
up warped.” He forgot to say funny
as all get-out, too. It you can’t get
some laughs from this album, you're
ready to be stuffed and put in a case
at Carnegie Museum.

UDU

UN-JOLLY ROGER — Confirm-
ing what we’ve all known for a
while, Roger Daltrey says, “The
Who as they used to be are finished
forever. We thought it was time to
quit, before we became a parody of
ourselves. We weren’t breaking any
new ground, and if we continued we
would have become a circus act.

“Each of us (he and Pete Towns-
hend) spent a great deal of time
placating the other, or one of us was
placating the other three. We decid-

ed it was better to quit while we
were still friends."

So you’d think his latest solo
album. “Parting Should Be Pain-
less" (Atlantic 80128-1), would re-

flect some of the joy of hug free of
what had become an unco ortahle
relationship.

Not much it doesn’t. While it’s no
“Nebraska," it’s definitely a
downer.

“Can it be possible? Is it happen-

ing this way? We are the same two
people tearing up in anger, tearing
everything in complicated‘ltnots, not
caring, not giving” is a typical lyric.
So is ‘There’s laughter and love, and
there’s a lot of pain. I never wanna
see your pretty face again.” So is
“Never was a man so blind. He had
no time for anyone. Closed his eyes
and turned his head away. Pushed
aside his friends. Threw away his
love. All gone, all gone. all gone . ..
And how, how does the cold wind
cry?” .
You get the idea. And the music
follows suit, mostly subdued tempos
with a lot of minor keys and eerie,
spooky, dream-like synthesizers and
strings.

0n the plus side, however, several
instrumentalists shine: keyboardist
Micke Gallagher, tenor samphon-
ist ichael Brecker, clarinetist
Dave Tofani. And Daltrey doesn’t
sound too bad for a man who’s been
abusing his voice for the last 20
years or so.

The catchy “Walking in My
Sleep,” which is getting some air-

la , is well worth hearing. 80 are
al ads “Would a Stran er Do” and
“How Does the Cold ind Cry.”

So is moderate rocker “Parting
Would Be Painless.” So is “Don’t
Wait on the Stairs,” a hard dance-
beat cut which starts with a lean
arrangement and bursts out at the
end, drummer Alan Schwartzberg
going to town.

Daltrey and his sidemen are not
offering junk. One just wishes he’d
chosen a few happier or at least
more hopeful songs to sing.