The denizens of the music world tend to do things in their lives that may not make much sense to us commoners. Their lifestyle can be seen as odd, unusual, peculiar, or even weird, if you will. As a liaison between the realm of normal folks, and the increasingly bizarre pop music scene, “Weird Al” Yankovic has always been a powerful voice in lampooning current events and the biggest names of the day. Such is the case in his latest album, Alpocalypse, yet another showcase of parodies, wacky ideas, and cheap shots at celebrities who have really been asking for it.

Nowhere is Yankovic’s flair for satirizing contemporary customs more apparent than in the lead-off to his newest record, “Perform This Way.” A skewed view of Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way,” the tune gets into the “Bad Romance” singer’s mindset to try and explain her thought process in picking out her stage wardrobe. Al may as well inquire as to why the sky is blue, but his opening number, nevertheless, gets listeners ready for more hilarity.

However, while the intent behind the subsequent songs demonstrates that the parodist is as sharp as ever, his methodology of choosing artists to taunt is more reliant on musicians who have barely been on the scene long enough to develop a reputation. Such examples include: “TMZ,” a paparazzi-themed spoof of Taylor Swift’s, “You Belong with Me” and “Party in the CIA,” a fun-filled romp about government-sanctioned torture set to “Party in the USA” by Miley Cyrus. Isn’t Hannah Montana a little too easy a target?

In all Weird Al’s albums, the parodies are balanced out by Yankovic’s original, off-the-wall music, some of which rely on other influences, in this case, “Craigslist,” wherein Al seems to be channeling Jim Morrison when wailing about the intricacies of the classified Web site. The Doors’ Ray Manzarek also chimes in on the keyboard for this one. Then there’s “CNR,” a paean to the infinite talents of Charles Nelson Reilly, who, according to Yankovic was eight feet tall and once, “fell off the Chrysler building, and he barely even stubbed his toe.” Who knew the Match Game panelist could swallow an entire Volkswagen whole?

The songs on Yankovic’s 13th album make for a fine collection of humor, depending on how well you respond to a recession-edited version of TI’s “Whatever You Like” with the exact same title. The problem lies in the amount of time between Al’s last wrap-up in the recording studio. Since 2006’s Straight Outta Lynwood, Yankovic and his team have been compiling material, but with singles and music videos available all over the Internet starting in 2008, it shouldn’t have taken nearly this long for the album to see the light of day. In fact, without Lady Gaga’s 11th hour blessing for “Perform This Way,” we might have had to wait even longer. Al’s traditional medley of samples set to accordion music is titled “Polka Face” in honor of Gaga’s biggest hit.

Expectations have been high for Alpocalypse with all the hype surrounding it, and that combined with Yankovic’s considerable fan base — which has been going strong for three decades — helped it to chart higher in its opening week than any other Weird Al album. Still, while many of Al’s ditties are spot-on, the majority of his repertoire has been closer in hitting the mark in terms of humor. But, if he could come back after 1986’s massive flop, Polka Party! then this should be little more than a bump in the road, and certainly not the end of the world as the album cover and title would indicate.

Rating: 2.5 out of 4 stars

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