Internet Leaks

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This article is about the album. For the act of releasing confidential information to the public on the Internet, see Internet leak.
Internet Leaks
EP by "Weird Al" Yankovic
Released August 25, 2009
Recorded 2008 – 2009
Genre Comedy
Length 19:19
Label Volcano
"Weird Al" Yankovic chronology
Straight Outta Lynwood
(2006)
Internet Leaks
(2009)
The Essential "Weird Al" Yankovic
(2009)

Internet Leaks is the third EP from "Weird Al" Yankovic. It was released digitally on August 25, 2009. The EP contains a parody of "Whatever You Like" by artist T.I., as well as style parodies of The Doors, Weezer, The White Stripes, and Queen; all of the songs, except for "Ringtone" had been released as separate digital singles between October 2008 and August 2009, preceding the record's release.

At the time of the release of Internet Leaks, music videos for the four original songs were released; "Whatever You Like" would later received an animated video in 2011. The songs on the album were mostly met with positive critical reception, and many of the style parodies were lauded. On December 2, 2009, the EP was nominated for Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album for the 52nd Grammy Awards. All five tracks were later re-released on Yankovic's 2011 album, Alpocalypse.

Background and recording[edit]

Following 2006's Straight Outta Lynwood, Yankovic decided to explore digital distribution as a means to promote his music. In late 2008, Yankovic announced plans to release a parody of "Whatever You Like" by artist T.I. Yankovic later told Billboard that he had come up with the idea two weeks before and that, with the benefit of digital distribution, he would not "have to wait around while my songs get old and dated—[he could] get them out on the Internet almost immediately."[1] The single was recorded on September 26, 2008, and uploaded to digital distribution platforms on October 8, 2008.[2]

On April 22 of the following year, Yankovic entered the studio to record four original songs: "Craigslist", "Skipper Dan", "CNR", and "Ringtone".[2] The session was produced by Yankovic. Backing Yankovic were Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz on drums, Steve Jay on bass, and Jim West on guitar.[3] For "Craiglist", Yankovic reached out to Ray Manzarek, the former keyboardist for The Doors, in order to properly authenticate the sound of his tribute; Yankovic later uploaded a video of Manzarek recording his part in the studio.[4]

Yankovic first announced the EP on August 20, 2009, although each of the songs on Internet Leaks—sans "Ringtone", which was released the same days as Internet Leaks—had been released as singles preceding the release of the EP. All of the songs featured on Internet Leaks were later re-released on Yankovic's thirteenth studio album, Alpocalypse. The EP was meant as a stop-gap, because Yankovic "wanted to make the tracks available so everybody could enjoy them as early as possible."[5]

Composition[edit]

The album contains a parody of "Whatever You Like" by T.I. (left) and a style parody of The Doors (right, Jim Morrison pictured), among others.

The first single released from Internet Leaks was, "Whatever You Like" a parody of T.I.'s song of the same name.[6] The song describes a man wooing his girlfriend amid financial hardships.[3] Due to celerity with which Yankovic was able to write and record the parody, the song was more topical than many of Yankovic's other parodies.[1] As such, the song explicitly references the Great Recession, which occurred in 2009.[3][7]

Following "Whatever You Like", Yankovic released "Craigslist" on June 16, 2009. The song discussing the dealings of the titular website. Musically, the song is inspired by the sound of The Doors. As a "style parody", the song does not take directly from any single Doors song, but Yankovic transposed parts from various songs and combined them into what became "Craigslist". According to NPR, the intro organ riffs are similar to "When the Music's Over", the "snotty barista" section is a "a pitch-perfect rip" of the Oedipus complex section from "The End", and there are sections in the guitar solo similar to "Light My Fire".[8]

"Skipper Dan", a style parody of Weezer,[9] was released on July 14, 2009. The song describes a man who has a fine arts degree and dreamed of pursuing an acting career, but is forced to work as a tour guide on the Jungle Cruise ride at Disneyland. Yankovic later explained in an interview with The A.V. Club that the song was "a bit more poignant [and] bittersweet [...] than what I usually write."[7] He was inspired to pen the song after he and his family went on the Jungle Cruise ride at Disneyland and one of the tour guides referred to his failed acting career. Yankovic then noted that "the bells went off in my head, and I thought, 'Well, here’s a song right here.'"[7]

On August 4, 2009, Yankovic released "CNR", a pastiche of the musical style of The White Stripes, with Rolling Stone specifically noting the influence of the 2007 single "Icky Thump".[9][10] The lyrics are about superhuman feats that Charles Nelson Reilly could accomplish, retold in a style similar to Chuck Norris facts.[10] The final single, "Ringtone", released on August 25, 2009, is a style parody of Queen. Billboard described the song as a cross between "Queen's operatic style [and] a tragic tale of a 'stupid ringtone' driving everyone nuts."[9]

Music videos[edit]

The first video released was for "Craiglist", directed by Liam Lynch. The budget for the video was much lower than Yankovic's previous live-action video "White & Nerdy" and was shot in Lynch's garage. Yankovic stated that the low budget video "dovetails well" with the concept of the song.[11] The video incorporates similar imagery seen in The Doors' videos, including stock footage and art house effects. Yankovic dressed as Morrison, having to lose some weight to look like the singer at age 24, and performed in front of a green screen to allow effects to be added afterward.[12]

An animated video for "Skipper Dan" was created by Divya Srinivasan and was released in July of 2009.[13][14] In early August of the same year, a video for "CNR", created by JibJab, was released that animated the song using JibJab employees as actors against a green screen, interspersed with shots of Yankovic and Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz performing on a White Stripes-inspired red-and-white set, dressed as Jack White and Meg White, respectively.[10][15][16] In a first for any major recording artist, users of Jib-Jab's web site had the option of including themselves in the music video.[17] In mid August, a music video for "Ringtone" was created by SuperNews!.[18] Lastly, a music video for "Whatever You Like" was created by animator Cris Shapan; the video was released in 2011, appearing on the deluxe edition of Alpocalypse.[3]

Reception[edit]

The songs on the EP were largely favorably received. Cap Blackard of Consequence of Sound praised the manner in which "Whatever You Like" was released, noting that it was a "bold move", "a great way to keek up with the times", and that the resulting parody was topical.[19] However, Scott Shetler of PopCrush called the single "timely but not-so-funny".[20] Matt Wild felt that the parody was "funny and pointed", although he noted that by the time of its 2011 re-release, the track was a little dated. Wild also called "Skipper Dan" a "highlight", largely due to the song finding "Yankovic leaving the shackles of parody behind, and simply crafting funny, memorable tunes, free of shtick or a sell-by date"; Wild also positively complimented the song's darker nature.[7]

The accuracy of the EP's style parodies was also positively critiqued. Andy Chalk of The Escapist magazine wrote that the music style of "Craigslist" was a "dead-on parody of The Doors",[21] and Marc Hirsh of NPR argued that the composition and performance of "Craigslist" is evidence that Yankovic is a "stealth pop musicologist", being able to deconstruct a genre of work and recreate it into something new without it being unrecognizable.[8] Wild wrote that "CNR" and "Ringtone" were both "even more winning" than the parodies found on Alpocalypse.[7] Brian May, guitarist for Queen, felt that Yankovic "perfectly spoofed [the] vocal and guitar harmonies" of the band in "Ringtone".[22]

On December 2, 2009, the EP was nominated for Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album for the 52nd Grammy Awards.[23]

Track listing[edit]

The following is adapted from the iTunes version of the album,[24] as well as the liner notes from Alpocalypse.[3]

No. Title Writer(s) Parody of Length
1. "Whatever You Like"   Clifford Harris, James Scheffer, David Siegel, "Weird Al" Yankovic "Whatever You Like" by T.I. 3:41
2. "Craigslist"   Yankovic Style parody of The Doors 4:53
3. "Skipper Dan"   Yankovic Style parody of Weezer 4:01
4. "CNR"   Yankovic Style parody of The White Stripes 3:21
5. "Ringtone"   Yankovic Style parody of Queen 3:25

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Vreval, Jeff (October 6, 2008). "Weird Al Goes Digital With T.I. Cover". Billboard. Retrieved October 6, 2008. 
  2. ^ a b "Weird Al" Yankovic: Recording Dates. WeirdAl.com. Retrieved on June 22, 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d e Alpocalypse (liner). "Weird Al" Yankovic. Volcano Records. 2011. 
  4. ^ "Weird Al" Yankovic: Players. WeirdAl.com. Retrieved on June 22, 2014.
  5. ^ Yankovic, Al (August 20, 2009). "Internet Leaks!". Wordpress. Retrieved July 24, 2014. 
  6. ^ Vreval, Jeff (October 6, 2008). "Weird Al Goes Digital With T.I. Cover". Billboard. Retrieved October 6, 2008. 
  7. ^ a b c d e Wild, Matt (June 21, 2011). "'Weird Al' Yankovic: Alpocalypse". The A.V. Club. The Onion. Retrieved July 23, 2014. 
  8. ^ a b Hirsh, Marc (June 18, 2009). "Meet 'Weird Al' Yankovic, Stealth Pop Musicologist". NPR. Retrieved June 18, 2009. 
  9. ^ a b c Lipshutz, Jason (June 21, 2011). "'Weird Al' Yankovic, 'Alpocalypse': Track-By-Track Review". Billboard. Retrieved June 21, 2011. 
  10. ^ a b c Kreps, Daniel (August 4, 2009). ""Weird Al" Parodies The White Stripes, Charles Nelson Reilly". Rolling Stone. Retrieved August 4, 2009. 
  11. ^ Yankovic, "Weird Al" (June 14, 2009). "New Single & Video Soon!". MySpace. Retrieved June 14, 2009. 
  12. ^ Reilly, Dan (June 15, 2009). "'Weird Al' Yankovic, 'Craigslist' -- Video Premiere". Spinner.com. Retrieved June 15, 2009. 
  13. ^ Wallace, Lewis (July 14, 2009). "‘Weird Al’ Tells Sad Tale of ‘Skipper Dan’". Wired. Retrieved July 14, 2009. 
  14. ^ "News Ticker: Treasure Island Festival, Common, 'Weird Al' Yankovic, Snoop Dogg". Rolling Stone. July 15, 2009. Retrieved July 15, 2009. 
  15. ^ "C.N.R. B.T.S.!". JibJab. August 4, 2009. Retrieved August 7, 2009. 
  16. ^ "C.N.R. B.T.S. II !". JibJab. August 6, 2009. Retrieved August 6, 2009. 
  17. ^ "Weird Al and JibJab Join Forces". PRWeb. August 6, 2009. Retrieved August 6, 2009. 
  18. ^ "The Super News Callabo-Jam with Weird Al Yankovic! - Premieres August 21st." (Flash video). Current TV. August 15, 2009. Retrieved August 15, 2009. 
  19. ^ Blackard, Cap (June 30, 2011). "'Weird Al' Yankovic – Alpocalypse". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved July 24, 2014. 
  20. ^ Shetler, Scott (June 16, 2011). "Weird Al Yankovic, 'Alpocalypse' – Album Review". PopCrush. Retrieved July 24, 2014. 
  21. ^ Chalk, Andy (June 16, 2009). "'Weird Al' Puts The Doors on Craigslist". The Escapist. Retrieved June 18, 2009. 
  22. ^ May, Brian (August 29, 2009). "Brian's Soapbox Aug 2009". BrianMay.com. Retrieved July 24, 2014. 
  23. ^ "Awards". WeirdAl.com. Retrieved July 22, 2014. 
  24. ^ "Internet Leaks – EP "Weird Al" Yankovic". iTunes. Retrieved July 22, 2014.