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Straight Outta Newhall

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Nathan Strum


So, I've been waiting for this CD for awhile...




Was it worth the wait?


Well - yes! Although I have to admit I was more than a little worried about it, since Weird Al's last album - Poodle Hat - was, I thought, his weakest effort to date. Maybe that's because the album before that - Running With Scissors - was (and still is) his best.


But this is a return to good form for Weird Al, and both his parodies and originals are excellent. I don't really keep up on current music anymore, but a good (or at least funny) parody shouldn't require you to be familiar with the original work. It should stand up on its own, and these do. His originals are also much better than those in Poodle Hat, and it's pretty amazing the variety of musical styles Al and his band manage to cover. There are some nice style homages in there (particularly of Brian Wilson - which makes me wonder what would happen if Weird Al did a concept album). The lyrics are much funnier than those in Poodle Hat, and he covers some new ground in terms of subject matter. I'd say "Don't Download This Song" is probably the weakest of the bunch, just because it comes off as more preachy than funny. Near the end though, the song gains more of a satirical edge, which saves it.


I won't go into details (since I hate spoilers, myself), but there are several laugh-out-loud points in the album, which if anyone knows me very well, isn't an easy thing to accomplish. The best of which is about 2/3 of the way through "Trapped in the Drive-Thru". For strictly personal reasons, I also really like "Canadian Idiot". :D


Interestingly, the strongest song on the album - "White & Nerdy" (which is also the lead track and first single) - wasn't recorded until after the original single - "You're Pitiful" - was dropped from the album due to a record company dispute. "White & Nerdy" is a much, much better song, and makes for a better video than I think "You're Pitiful" ever would have. Plus the controversy gained Weird Al some press, so this may be one of the better things that could have happened to him. Besides, he got the last laugh by releasing the song for free on his website.


The CD is actually a dual-disc (with a DVD on the other side), containing a behind-the-scenes look in the studio, which I thought was very interesting and cool. There are also music videos for his original songs, but they don't fare nearly as well. "Don't Download This Song", which has been posted to the internet, is probably the strongest of the bunch. "Weasel Stomping Day" (which premiered the other night on Robot Chicken) is pretty good, too, and the one for "Close But No Cigar" is okay, but I grew tired of John Kricfalusi's brand of overly self-indulgent adolescent animation years ago. The others are amateurish, at best, and the one for "Pancreas" is an utter waste of time (too bad... since it's a good song). So I doubt I'll be flipping the CD back over to the video side anytime soon.


Unfortunately, the excellent video for "White & Nerdy" was completed after the album was finished, so it isn't included, but then again, this isn't being sold as a video collection. The videos included are bonuses, so it doesn't affect my overall score for the album. I'm just judging it solely on the music, and how funny I think the whole thing is.


So with that, I'll give this one an 8/10.


Why not a 9/10?


Not enough accordion. ;)

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Watched the video for White and Nerdy the other night at one of my friends house who had downloaded it.Pretty fun stuff as Weird Al's stuff all ways is.

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Thought you might enjoy this assessment of Weird Al:

He's not like them, he's like us. To the millions of us flitting around the edges of hipness, he is our Geek Bard, our Troubadork. Unlike his prey—the rappers and the rockers, the folk-pop shamans and the techno wizards—Weird Al is, in the only meaningful sense of the phrase, keeping it real.

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Good stuff! I got the album off iTunes a little over a week ago for $12. That includes the videos, including White & Nerdy.


This is the second Weird Al album I've purchased. I gather the first is quite rare as it's going for $125-$220 used :)

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