We gave it a B
”WEIRD AL” YANKOVIC Poodle Hat Comedy (Volcano)
FANNYPACK So Stylistic Dance (Tommy Boy)
DAVID LEE ROTH Diamond Dave Rock (Magna Carta)
If everything were right in the world, 11-year-olds would be all over Poodle Hat, ”Weird Al” Yankovic’s new CD. His smart songs feed their appetite for gross-out humor without veering into the obscene or talking down to them. Once upon a time, ”Eat It,” along with MAD magazine and a solid collection of Garbage Pail Kids, was an essential part of healthy immaturity.
But Yankovic can’t connect with a market raised on South Park and Eminem. The new role models lure ever-younger fans with an equally smart but jaded, foulmouthed outlook, forcing kids to abandon goofy fun long before they should have to. It’s hard to imagine today’s tough tykes choosing Yankovic’s ”Couch Potato,” a rant about channel surfing set to the tune of ”Lose Yourself,” over the real Slim Shady.
Ironically, Yankovic is one of the few musicians who play with words and pop culture as deftly as Eminem. On ”Couch Potato,” he chronicles televised inanity, including ”the rise and decline of 12 actors named Corey” and ”James Lipton discussing the oeuvre of Mr. Rob Schneider.” When he complains, ”I only watched Will & Grace one time one day/Wish I hadn’t ’cause TiVo now thinks I’m gay,” it sounds like it could be an Eminem lyric.
But not everything is so inventive. As always, Yankovic mixes parodies (he also tackles Nelly’s ”Hot in Herre” and Avril’s ”Complicated”) with corny up-tempo originals full of noisome effects and clownish voices that would make even the widest eyes roll. At least he reprises his signature polka medley, this time condensing Papa Roach’s ”Last Resort,” Disturbed’s ”Down With the Sickness,” and other recent hits into one accordion-fronted sing-along that exposes the songs for the pretentious rock babble they are.
Savvy preteens will certainly relate more easily to Fannypack, the trio of Brooklyn girls who invaded pop radio with ”Cameltoe,” a titillating takedown of the female frontal wedgie. Throughout their fun debut album, So Stylistic, Cat, 22, Belinda, 16, and Jessibel, 18 (cast by producers Matt Goias and Fancy), spout frisky street sass with the kind of whiny New York accents that made the Beastie Boys stars. Set to booty beats, they create an all-night Flatbush house party, replete with rum shots and neon nail polish. Though the formula is irresistible at times, it’s tough not to squirm — especially during super-carnal cuts like ”Boom Boom” — at the thought of two older male DJs contorting three sexed-up young women into a moneymaking machine.
You’ll be sure to squirm while listening to David Lee Roth’s Diamond Dave: It’s pretty clear that the ex — Van Halen frontman is trying to contort himself into a relevant musician for one last moneymaker. Though not intended as a novelty, Roth’s latest attempt to weasel his way back into our lives reeks of such desperation that it’s hard to see it as anything else. Diamond is essentially a covers set, including three tracks by forgettable British blues rockers Savoy Brown. On ”If 6 Was 9,” Roth slows Hendrix’s trippy spoken-word interludes to a murmur that, one can only guess, is supposed to be either sexy or menacing. Instead, it sounds like an old man ready to pass out at any moment. His glam-rock version of ”Tomorrow Never Knows” — cleverly listed as ”That Beatles Tune” — is enough to make listeners reach for their Revolver. Poodle Hat: B So Stylistic: B-Diamond Dave: F