What a time to be alive: “Weird Al” Yankovic and Jason Mraz are currently vying for the No. 1 spot on next week’s Billboard 200.
Mraz released his latest album, YES!, on Tuesday, the same date Weird Al released Mandatory Fun. However, Mr. Yankovic’s PR effort has been much more effective: He’s released a parody a day since Monday, schooled a Fox News host on how the Internet works, and appeared on an episode of The Hotwives of Orlando as a self-help guru.
According to Billboard, industry forecasters are predicting both albums will sell roughly 70,000 to 75,000 copies by Sunday.
Weird Al has been experiencing something of a renaissance, and his new album highlights just how much his style of parody has evolved to fit the Internet. When asked how Yankovic stands out in a sea of YouTube parodies, in a time when Cookie Monster’s done a “Call Me Maybe” parody, he told NPR’s Tamara Keith:
“Yeah, Cookie Monster is my No. 1 competition right now. Actually, I don’t view it as a competition at all. I think it’s wonderful that there’s a level playing field now. Anybody can upload their videos to YouTube and you don’t have to get the blessing of some record executive somewhere to get your stuff heard. If your stuff is good, chances are people will hear it.
I did have the field to myself pretty much throughout the ’80s and ’90s, and it’s more of a challenge now because I have to make sure my material rises above on its own merits. I can’t just say, ‘Well, I’m the only person with a major label recording deal.’ Now I have to compete with the thousands and thousands of people that are also putting out comedic songs and parodies.”
His latest video is for “Sports Song,” which isn’t a parody so much as a general skewering of our sports-addicted culture.
The Billboard 200 numbers will be released on July 23. We, as a culture, can help Al get to No. 1.
Photo by ruffin_ready/Flickr (CC By 2.0)