If Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines was one of the most controversial songs of this decade, then Weird Al Yankovic’s parody version Word Crimes is one of the funniest.
Regular readers will know of my fondness for producing my own parody songs but Yankovic remains the unchallenged king. From Michael Jackson’s Beat It and Bad (reworked as Eat It and Fat) to Smells Like Nirvana and the Madonna parody Like A Surgeon to my all-time favourite Amish Paradise (based on Coolio’s Gangsta’s Paradise), Weird Al has been mining a rich comedic seam for more than three decades.
I can’t believe I’ve only just discovered this one, though – particularly as a blogger who is a stickler for good grammar.
The song peaked at number 39 in the US, making Yankovic one of only three artists to record a US top 40 entry in the 1980s, 1990s, 2000s and 2010s, alongside Michael Jackson and Madonna – coincidentally two of his previous parody targets.
Okay, I’d have preferred it if he hadn’t used ‘spastic’ – a word which, even though meant in jest here, retains nasty connotations that belong in a bygone age – but when you can squeeze the words ‘nomenclature’ and ‘prepositions’ into a song lyric alongside references to the Oxford comma, you can just about forgive him. It’s certainly less offensive than Blurred Lines.
Nonetheless, Word Crimes is clever, it’s funny and it may just have superseded Amish Paradise as my new favourite.
#1: Pretty in Pink – Psychedelic Furs
#2: West End Girls – Pet Shop Boys
#5: Don’t Leave Me This Way – The Communards
#6: A Moment Like This – Kelly Clarkson
#7: Right Here Right Now – Fatboy Slim
#10: Manic Monday – The Bangles
#14: Flashdance … What A Feeling – Irene Cara
#17: Beautiful – Christina Aguilera
#18: Smells Like Teen Spirit – Nirvana
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