In Hear This, A.V. Club writers sing the praises of songs they know well—some inspired by a weekly theme and some not, but always songs worth hearing. This week, in tribute to Mandatory Fun, we’re recounting some of our favorite “Weird Al” Yankovic songs.
Though “Weird Al” Yankovic made his name on direct parodies, when he took on a whole style—or, in the case of “Dare To Be Stupid,” one band’s body of work—the results were often just as successful. Case in point: “Albuquerque,” the nearly 12-minute closing track from Al’s 1999 album Running With Scissors.
Yankovic had always had an ability to concisely skewer the best, and occasionally worst, of pop music in song, but on “Albuquerque” he admits it was conceived as a challenge to his fans. “I’m going to make this song so long that people are only gonna want to hear it once,” said Yankovic, but his attempt backfired. The result was not only one of Yankovic’s most-loved songs, but also one of the oddest.
Over the course of the song, “Albuquerque” offers up some of Yankovic’s most absurd lines, as he tells the tale of a twentysomething sauerkraut-eating hero escaping his home for the pleasures of the New Mexico desert. On his way he survives a plane crash (because he dutifully kept his tray table up, and his seat was in the full, upright position), has a series of run-ins with locals, and finds love after being attacked by a bunch of angry weasels. “Albuquerque” is “Weird Al” at his weirdest, as a style parody of The Rugburns goes slightly askew, inadvertently giving Al an eccentric epic that was all his own.