(Rock ‘N’ Roll Records, 1984)
“You can learn to cope with stress, and you can beat the IRS, and the incredible frog-boy is on the loose again.”–Al Yankovic
Was 1984 the greatest year in pop culture history? Definitely if you were 11 years old. Which I was. I mean, come on: Temple of Doom, Beverly Hills Cop, Gremlins, The A-Team, Family Ties, Hardcastle and McCormick, Purple Rain, Out of the Cellar, Like a Virgin…OK, an entire piece on 1984 ASAP. Oh, and “Weird Al” Yankovic–who’d previously only been known to nerds like me that listened to Dr. Demento–released his breakthrough album In 3-D, which caught fire thanks to a little song called “Eat It.” I still love Al. Who in their right mind doesn’t? I connected with his absurd humor 36 years ago, and you know what? That never changed. As Al explained to me in 2013: “I guess I was always twisted. I mean, I don’t know if my classmates thought I was funny, or just weird.” In 3-D might be his best album overall. It definitely includes some of his best original songs, including “Midnight Star” and “Nature Trail to Hell” (both of which I was lucky to see Al perform in 2018 during his Ridiculously Self-Indulgent, Ill-Advised Vanity Tour). In 3-D was one of the first cassettes I ever owned, so listening to this record always takes me back to when life was simpler. Now things are just weird.