Weird Al’s Best Non-Parody Songs

A musician like “Weird Al” Yankovic can only create his spot-on parodies and stylistic tour-de-forces because he loves music — all kinds of music. Yankovic can convincingly swerve from polka to punk to pop and not miss a beat. There’s no other musician in the world who could pull off a Frank Zappa homage like “Genius in France.”

In fact, this song is so Zappa you’d be forgiven for thinking it was Frank Zappa. Music critic Nathan Rabin reports that Zappa’s son Dweezil plays the guitar solo on the track so the Zappa family must have approved of Yankovic’s love letter to Frank. And the song once again displays Yankovic’s deceptive smarts. “Weird Al: Seriously” argues that Yankovic manages to layer his self-deprecating humor (the song’s basically about how stupid he is) inside a meta-joke about how the French have bizarre and arguably stupid cultural taste.

Rabin praises the song’s complexity, likening it to a “a suite that combines an entire album worth of ideas, ambition and genres into a nearly nine minute epic.” Sure, it’s clearly inspired by Zappa’s own jazzy, complex works, but it’s still an incredible musical achievement. Plus, where else are you gonna here a lyric like “Hoom chaka laka”?

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