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off deep end

Off the Deep End

Off The Deep End is the seventh album by "Weird Al" Yankovic, released in 1992. This is also Al's first self-produced album, after six albums with Rick Derringer. The lead-off song, "Smells Like Nirvana," is a parody of Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit." The album cover also parodies the cover of Nirvana's album Nevermind, which depicts an infant in the deep end of a pool chasing after a dollar bill on a string. The Off the Deep End cover shows Yankovic in the baby's place apparently chasing after a donut on a string. The CD, liner notes, and artwork continue the parody of Nirvana's album, borrowing the same blue, wave-light graphics from the printed surface of Nevermind.

"You Don't Love Me Anymore" is misprinted on the cassette as "Don't You Love Me Anymore."

Recording and release

After Yankovic's 1989's movie, UHF, Yankovic returned to the studio to record his new album. On June 6, recording officially began, with "Airline Amy". After the five originals ("Airline Amy," "Trigger Happy", "When I Was Your Age", "You Don't Love Me Anymore", and "Waffle King") were done Yankovic switched to the parodies. At the time, only three parodies had been envisioned ("The White Stuff", "I Can't Watch This", and "The Plumbing Song"). After waiting for about a year for the "next big thing" to come out, Yankovic went on a slight hiatus in order to find the right lead-off parody/single. The album sat in a completely unfinished state for almost one year. In late 1991, Yankovic asked permission to record a parody of "Black or White" by Michael Jackson, but was turned down (See below). Finally by early 1992, Nirvana's Nevermind was making waves in the rock and pop scene. As the popularity of 80's pop gave way to alternative rock, Yankovic decided it was time to record a parody of the Seattle-based band's huge hit single "Smells Like Teen Spirit". It was during this time that "I was Only Kidding" was recorded. Originally, "Waffle King" was supposed to appear on "Off the Deep End." However, by the time the recording of the parodies for the album began, Al had written all the original songs that were to appear on his next album. Because he was concerned that one of the jokes from the song "I was Only Kidding" might be played out by the time Alapalooza would finally be released (A reference to the movie Wayne's World with the line "I really love you-- NOT!"), he recorded "I Was Only Kidding" and included it on "Off the Deep End" in place of "Waffle King". "Waffle King" was instead used as the b-side of the Smells Like Nirvana single. Off the Deep End was released April 1992, and up to that point, became Yankovic's best selling album. The albums lead-off single, "Smells Like Nirvana" was a hit on the Billboard Hot 100, charting at number 35. It also charted on Hot 100 Singles Sales (at number 12) and the US Mainstream Rock Tracks (at number 35). Both the album and hit single helped to reenergize Yankovic's career.

Refused parodies

Yankovic had two parody ideas that were refused. They include:

  • A parody of Michael Jackson's hit "Black or White" entitled Snack All Night. Although Jackson was a big supporter of Yankovic's work, he felt that a parody might damage the song's true message. Jackson told Yankovic that he could, if he wanted to, parody another song off his new album, but just not "Black or White". Yankovic later settled on a Nirvana parody. Yankovic, has, however, performed the song live in concert.
  • A parody of Paul McCartney's 70's hit "Live and Let Die" entitled Chicken Pot Pie (as covered by Guns N' Roses). Paul McCartney, another supporter of Yankovic's work, earnestly wanted Yankovic to do a parody of one of his songs, but when asked about a parody of "Live and Let Die", he begrudgingly refused, due to the fact that, as a vegetarian, he couldn't condone the eating of animal flesh. Yankovic, a fellow vegetarian, has stated that he respects McCartney's decision.

Track listing

Track Title Length (Style) Parody of Description
1 "Smells Like Nirvana" 3:42 "Smells Like Teen Spirit" by Nirvana Poking fun at the original song's ambiguous and unintelligible lyrics.
2 "Trigger Happy" 3:46 Style parody of The Beach Boys and Jan & Dean About a man who has an exaggerated obsession with firearms.
3 "I Can't Watch This" 3:31 "U Can't Touch This" by MC Hammer About various bad television shows.
4 "Polka Your Eyes Out" 3:50 Polka Medley A polka medley including the following songs:

5 "I Was Only Kidding" 3:31 Style Parody of Tonio K. About a declaration of love that was a complete joke.
6 "The White Stuff" 2:43 "You Got It (The Right Stuff) by New Kids on the Block The singer expresses his love for the filling that appears between Oreo cookies.
7 "When I Was Your Age" 4:35 Partial Style Parody of Don Henley's "Dirty Laundry" The singer tells his child how he never had it as good as he does, but takes it to exaggerated lengths. Compare with Monty Python 'Four Yorkshiremen' sketch
8 "Taco Grande" 3:44 "Rico Suave" by Gerardo About a narrator's visit to a fictional Mexican restaurant. Cheech Marin does a brief Spanish monologue in the song.
9 "Airline Amy" 3:50 Style parody of Nick Lowe About an airline stewardess the singer adores. He sees signs of affection in her actions, when she is really just doing the expected duties of her job.
10 "The Plumbing Song" 4:08 Parody of Milli Vanilli's "Baby Don't Forget My Number" and "Blame It on the Rain" The Narrator suggests a fictional plumber to a friend.
11 "You Don't Love Me Anymore" 4:01 Style parody of James Taylor. About a girlfriend who did numerous exaggerated and mostly deadly things to the singer and his obliviousness to their extent. The music video is also a parody of "More Than Words" by Extreme.
12 "Bite Me" Approx. 0:06 Inspired by Nirvana's hidden track on Nevermind, "Endless, Nameless" Six seconds of cacophony, played after ten minutes of silence between this track and "You Don't Love Me Anymore." Later CD pressings by Volcano omit the track and silence.

Outtakes

Song Length Release(s)
"Waffle King" 4:25 B-side of "Smells Like Nirvana"

Personnel

  • "Weird Al" Yankovic - accordion, keyboards, vocals, background vocals
  • Brad Buxer - synthesizer
  • Alisa Curran - background vocals
  • Jim Haas - background vocals
  • Steve Jay - bass, background vocals
  • Tommy Johnson - tuba
  • Jon Joyce - background vocals
  • Warren Luening - trumpet
  • Cheech Marin - vocals on "Taco Grande"
  • Gene Morford - background vocals
  • Peggy Newman - background vocals
  • Joel Peskin - clarinet
  • Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz - percussion, drums
  • Carmen Twillie - background vocals
  • Julia Waters - background vocals
  • Luther Waters - background vocals
  • Maxine Waters - background vocals
  • Oren Waters - background vocals
  • Jim West - banjo, guitar, background vocals
  • Jerry Whitman - background vocals

Production

  • Producer: "Weird Al" Yankovic
  • Engineer: Tony Papa
  • Arranger: "Weird Al" Yankovic
  • Overdubs: Marlene Aragon, Edith Fore, Neil Ross, Beau Weaver

Charts

Album
Year Chart Position
1992 The Billboard 200 17

References

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