Weird Al Yankovic

UHF

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"Weird Al" Yankovic has always been one of pop music's guilty pleasures, and his 1989 release UHF/Original Motion Picture Soundtrack and Other Stuff is no exception. As the title suggests, this album not only commemorates UHF's soundtrack highlights but also additional material recorded between 1988 and 1989. Under returning producer and veteran rock guitarist Rick Derringer, UHF's parodies sound increasingly similar to their originals (i.e., "Isle Thing" and "She Drives Like Crazy"), while a handful of original compositions deliver the beefiest guitars ever heard on a Weird Al release (i.e., the title track, "Let Me Be Your Hog," and "Generic Blues"). Despite this evolving creativity, UHF demonstrates a slump in Weird Al's songwriting abilities as popular music's premier comedian, notably endorsed by his deplorable original "Attack of the Radioactive Hamsters From a Planet Near Mars." Possibly worse, the Fine Young Cannibals' irritating "She Drives Me Crazy" sadly resurfaces via Weird Al's equally irritating "She Drives Like Crazy," which tries the patience of even the most devoted Weird Al fan. Nevertheless, Weird Al rescues listeners' tormented ears and vindicates his artistic credibility with "Gandhi II" (à la "Theme From Shaft") and "Spatula City," two remarkable commercial parodies that prove why he's still America's favorite musical satirist. In addition, UHF's remaining parodies -- "Isle Thing," "Money for Nothing/Beverly Hillbillies," and "Spam" -- genuinely highlight Weird Al's renowned fixation with food and television, the undisputed formula behind his well-deserved reputation. All things considered, UHF endures artistically as a transitional album between his '80s heyday and the imminent artistic makeover revealed on 1991's Off the Deep End. Recommended for both moderate and genuine Weird Al aficionados, UHF remains nearly as accessible as subsequent compilations Greatest Hits, Vol. 2, The TV Album, and The Food Album, which together incorporate only three of this album's 13 selections.

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