Does Weird Al Yankovic love to take his swipes at Michael Jackson, or what? Once again, Al takes aim at Jackson – and tacks on yet another food theme – with “Even Worse”. Now, there’s no song by that title, but te cover art is clearly a spoof of Jackson’s buckle-covered Bad image, quite possibly the last time Jackson wasn’t too weird to be cool (well, arguably). But Bad is transformed into “Fat”, a littany of fat jokes which really worked better with the bizarre video than it does as a stand-alone song. Also not working in Even Worse‘s favor is “Stuck In A Closet With Vanna White”, a tune whose entire point seemed to be to cash in on the Wheel Of Fortune hostess’ then-inescapable ubiquity. (Truthfully, Al missed the mark here – had the song gotten out around 1988, he might’ve had a hit, but that prize went to someone else’s spoof.) “(This Song’s Just) Six Words Long” is a guilty favorite of mine, a spoof of George Harrison’s “(I Got My Mind) Set On You” which pokes fun at the original’s ever-so-slightly repetitious lyric. “You Make Me” seems to be yet another Devo style parody, and falls into the disposable category.
If it’s starting to sound like Weird Al struck out with Even Worse, fear not, it gets better. “I Think I’m A Clone Now” is a subtly amusing parody of Tiffany’s cover of “I Think We’re Alone Now”, right down to the straight-off-the-assembly-line bubblegum pop production sound, and “Lasagna” is a brilliant (and, once again, food-obsessed) take on “La Bamba”, which had just gotten some recent exposure thanks to Los Lobos. “Melanie”, one of my favorite Yankovic originals ever, is a little song sung from a stalker’s point of view, and performed as a catchy pop number a la Elvis Costello’s “Veronica” or later-era Toad The Wet Sprocket.
Yet another cover of a cover, “Alimony” lays waste to Billy Idol’s then-recent cover of “Mony Mony”. “Velvet Elvis” is one of those original songs that I could do without, while “Twister” takes, word-for-word, the original Milton Bradley TV ad for the party game of the same name and twists it into a Beastie Boys-style rap. “Good Old Days” is an original number which sets fire to James Taylor’s signature style of folk-pop and runs away snickering.
Given that In 3-D and Dare To Be Stupid were a couple of my all-time favorite albums at the time, I remember – even in 1990 – somehow expecting more out of Even Worse. For whatever reason, perhaps because rock music was confined to dull arena acts like Poison, pop producers were unleashing teenyboppers with the musical equivalent of pre-fabricated metal shacks, and rap was starting to take over, Al just didn’t seem like he was firing on all cylinders here. In fact, it seemed like his next couple of CDs weren’t as on-the-mark either, and I was always disappointed that the seemingly obligatory polka medley – still a better demonstration of Yankovic’s musicianship and comic genius than any of his single-song spoofs – was missing.
- Fat (3:37)
- Stuck In A Closet With Vanna White (5:01)
- (This Song’s Just) Six Words Long) (3:37)
- You Make Me (3:05)
- I Think I’m A Clone Now (3:20)
- Lasagna (2:47)
- Melanie (3:59)
- Alimony (3:16)
- Velvet Elvis (4:30)
- Twister (1:04)
- Good Old Days (3:22)
Released by: Scotti Bros.
Release date: 1990
Total running time: 37:38