Permanent Record: Al in the Box

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Permanent Record: Al in the Box
Box set by "Weird Al" Yankovic
Released September 27, 1994
Genre Comedy
Label Rock 'n Roll Records
Scotti Brothers
Producer "Weird Al" Yankovic, Rick Derringer
"Weird Al" Yankovic chronology
Alapalooza
(1993)
Permanent Record: Al in the Box
(1994)
Greatest Hits Volume II
(1994)
Singles from Permanent Record: Al in the Box
  1. "Headline News"
    Released: September 27, 1994

Permanent Record: Al in the Box is a four disc compilation boxed set of songs by "Weird Al" Yankovic. The album, released by Scotti Brothers Records so that the label could make monetary projections for the fiscal year, collects Yankovic's favorite songs from his first eight studio albums. The collection includes alternate versions of "My Bologna", "Happy Birthday", "UHF" and the new single, "Headline News", a parody of "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" by Crash Test Dummies. It peaked at number 104 on the Billboard Hot 100.

The collection was met with mostly positive critical reviews, with many appreciating the gathering of some of Yankovic's best works. However, the box set was not a high seller, and near the end of the 1990s, it ranked as Yankovic's least-purchased album. In 2006, due to a mishap by Volcano Records, the artwork for the set was lost, and the collection went out of print. Yankovic refused to scan existing copies of the album to make new ones, fearing that it would lead to an inferior product.

Production[edit]

Release and music[edit]

While Yankovic was writing the original songs for a new album—which would later be released in 1996 as Bad Hair Day—his label, Scotti Brothers Records, insisted that he release a new record in order to meet monetary projections for the fourth fiscal quarter of the year. Yankovic, however, explained that he would be unable to finish a new record in time, so his label decided to release a box set that eventually was named Permanent Record: Al in the Box. The label then stipulated that Yankovic would need to at least record a new single to promote the box set. Yankovic complied, producing the parody "Headline News", a spoof of "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" by Crash Test Dummies, which would also appear on his second greatest hits album.[1]

While most of the songs that appear on this record can be found on Yankovic's first eight studio albums, there are several unique inclusions. The version of "My Bologna" is the Capitol Records single version, which only featured the accordion and Yankovic's voice. Early pressings of the album included the incorrect version of "My Bologna", but this was later rectified in subsequent pressings.[2] The version of "Happy Birthday" included was previously released on the 1981 independent Another One Rides the Bus EP.[3] Finally, the third disc contains the single edit of "UHF" as opposed to the lengthier version available on UHF – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack and Other Stuff; this was done because Yankovic figured that "fans would appreciate having both versions available."[4]

Tile and artwork[edit]

Both "Permanent Record" and "Al in the Box" were titles proposed by Yankovic; however, he favored the former, whereas his label preferred the latter. Both parties, being unwilling to yield, eventually decided to compromise and name the release Permanent Record: Al in the Box.[5] The album also included a detailed booklet, written by Yankovic's long-time associate, Dr. Demento.[3] When Yankovic's recording contract was transferred from Scotti Brothers to Volcano in the late 1990s, the artwork for the set was lost, forcing the set to go out of print; although Yankovic noted that the label "could just scan existing booklets and CD art and crank out boxed sets with slightly inferior graphics," be he did not want to put out a product that was not up to his usual standards.[6]

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[7]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 3.5/5 stars[8]
Spin (positive)[9]

Barry Weber of AllMusic awarded the album four-and-a-half stars out of five, and argued that "no [other greatest hits album of Yankovic's] matches Permanent Record, a four-CD set of Yankovic's best songs".[7] He applauded many of the parodies, and called several of them—namely "My Bologna", "Eat It", "Like a Surgeon", "Yoda", "Fat", and "Smells Like Nirvana"—"defining satires".[7] He also wrote that the originals contained on the record were "overlooked but equally entertaining".[7] Nathan Brackett and Christian Hoard, in The Rolling Stone Album Guide, awarded the album three-and-a-half stars out of five, denoting that the album averaged between good and excellent.[8] Craig Rosen of Billboard magazine opined that the album "will remind consumers that Yankovic has outlasted" many of his past parody targets.[10] Chuck Eddy of Spin magazine named the album the fourth most "essential" comedy record, writing that album is proof "for fifth-grade smart alecks, no rock star is greater" than Yankovic.[9]

Commercial performance[edit]

The box set was released on September 27, 1994. As of January 1997, the set was Yankovic's least-selling album, trailing all of his studio releases, as well as his various compilation and greatest hits albums.[11] On March 1, 2006, the record went out of print, due to the aforementioned loss of the artwork.[6] The collection's only single, "Headline News", charted and peaked at number four on the Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart, which corresponds to a position of 104 on the Billboard Hot 100.[12]

Track listing[edit]

Disc one[edit]

  1. "My Bologna" (orig. Doug Fieger, Berton Averre, arr. "Weird Al" Yankovic)[13] – 2:01
  2. "Another One Rides the Bus" (orig. John Deacon, arr. Yankovic)[13] – 2:36
  3. "Happy Birthday" (Yankovic)[13] – 2:36
  4. "I Love Rocky Road" (orig. Jake Hooker, arr. Yankovic)[13] – 2:36
  5. "Ricky" (orig. Mike Chapman, Nicky Chinn, arr. Yankovic)[13] – 2:36
  6. "Polkas on 45" (Polka medley, arr. Yankovic)[13] – 4:23
  7. "Midnight Star" (Yankovic)[13] – 4:35
    • Original; this song is about ludicrous supermarket tabloids.[3] From the 1984 album "Weird Al" Yankovic in 3-D.[3]
  8. "Eat It" (orig. Michael Jackson, arr. "Weird Al" Yankovic)[13] – 3:21
    • Parody of "Beat It" by Michael Jackson;[14] a song about a parent's exasperating quest to get their picky child to eat.[19] From the 1984 album "Weird Al" Yankovic in 3-D.[3]
  9. "Mr. Popeil" (Yankovic)[13] – 4:42
    • A style parody of the B-52s;[20] about the inventor Samuel Popeil, his myriad inventions of varying usefulness, and his son Ron's infomercials.[3] From the 1984 album "Weird Al" Yankovic in 3-D.[3]
  10. "I Lost on Jeopardy" (orig. Greg Kihn, Steve Wright, arr. Yankovic)[13] – 3:28
  11. "Buy Me a Condo" (Yankovic)[13] – 3:45
  12. "King of Suede" (orig. Sting, arr. Yankovic)[13] – 3:13

Disc two[edit]

  1. "Yoda" (orig. Ray Davies, arr. Yankovic)[13] – 3:58
  2. "This Is the Life" (Yankovic)[13] – 3:06
    • Style parody of 1920s and 1930s music;[22] the singer brags about his lavish lifestyle.[21] From the 1985 album Dare to Be Stupid.[3]
  3. "Like a Surgeon" (orig. Billy Steinberg, Tom Kelly, arr. Yankovic)[13] – 3:32
  4. "One More Minute" (Yankovic)[13] – 4:04
    • Style parody of Elvis Presley-like Doo-wop;[23] the song describes the myriad tortures that the singer would sooner endure than spending "one more minute" with his ex-girlfriend.[21] From the 1985 album Dare to Be Stupid.[3]
  5. "I Want a New Duck" (orig. Chris Hayes, Huey Lewis, arr. Yankovic)[13] – 3:04
  6. "Dare to Be Stupid" (Yankovic)[13] – 3:25
    • Style parody of Devo;[24] the song recounts a list of "stupid" things a person can do.[21] From the 1985 album Dare to Be Stupid.[3]
  7. "Hooked on Polkas" (Polka medley, arr. Yankovic)[13] – 4:23
    • A polka medley including songs popular in 1984 and 1985.[21] From the 1985 album Dare to Be Stupid.[3]
  8. "Addicted to Spuds" (orig. Robert Palmer, arr. Yankovic)[13] – 3:50
  9. "Dog Eat Dog" (Yankovic)[13] – 3:42
  10. "Here's Johnny" (orig. Peter Wolf, Ina Wolf, arr. Yankovic)[13] – 3:24
  11. "Living with a Hernia" (orig. Dan Hartman, Charlie Midnight, arr. Yankovic)[13] – 3:20
  12. "Christmas at Ground Zero" (Yankovic)[13] – 3:09
    • Style parody of Christmas carols;[16] the song discusses nuclear annihilation during the holidays.[16] From the 1986 album Polka Party!.[3]

Disc three[edit]

  1. "Lasagna" (arr. "Weird Al" Yankovic)[13] – 2:46
  2. "Good Old Days" (Yankovic)[13] – 3:21
    • Style parody of James Taylor;[3] in this song, a psychopath reminisces his childhood.[26] From the 1988 album Even Worse.[3]
  3. "Fat" (orig. Michael Jackson, arr. Yankovic)[13] – 3:37
    • Parody of "Bad" by Michael Jackson;[14] the spoof discusses a man's obesity, which is blown out of proportion.[26] From the 1988 album Even Worse.[3]
  4. "Melanie" (Yankovic)[13] – 3:58
    • Original; the song describes a socially inept apartment dweller's attempts to woo his neighbor Melanie.[26] From the 1988 album Even Worse.[3]
  5. "I Think I'm a Clone Now" (orig. Ritchie Cordell, arr. Yankovic)[13] – 3:20
  6. "You Make Me" (Yankovic)[13] – 3:06
    • Style parody of Oingo Boingo;[3][27][28] the song describes a person's desire to engage in strange behavior compelled by another person.[26] From the 1988 album Even Worse.[3]
  7. "Alimony" (orig. Tommy James, Bo Gentry, Ritchie Cordell, Bobby Bloom, arr. Yankovic)[13] – 3:16
  8. "UHF" (Yankovic)[13] – 3:49
  9. "Money for Nothing/Beverly Hillbillies" (Mark Knopfler, Gordon Sumner, Paul Henning, arr. Yankovic)[13] – 3:11
    • Parody of "Money for Nothing" by Dire Straits;[14] the song features the slightly altered lyrics of the theme song from the television series The Beverly Hillbillies which are set to the tune of Dire Straits's single.[29] From the 1989 album and soundtrack UHF – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack and Other Stuff.[3]
  10. "The Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota" (Yankovic)[13] – 6:50
    • Style parody of Harry Chapin and Gordon Lightfoot;[3] this is a folk song about a family road trip to a tourist location in Minnesota.[29] From the 1989 album and soundtrack UHF – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack and Other Stuff.[3]
  11. "Spam" (orig. Bill Berry, Peter Buck, Mike Mills, Michael Stipe, arr. Yankovic)[13] – 3:23
    • Parody of "Stand" by R.E.M.;[14] this is an ode to the canned luncheon meat Spam.[29] From the 1989 album and soundtrack UHF – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack and Other Stuff.[3]
  12. "Generic Blues" (Yankovic)[13] – 4:34
    • Style parody of the blues;[3] a song with deliberately clichéd and over-the-top lyrics.[29] From the 1989 album and soundtrack UHF – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack and Other Stuff.[3]

Disc four[edit]

  1. "Polka Your Eyes Out" (Polka medley, arr. Yankovic)[13] – 3:50
    • A polka medley including songs popular from 1990 to 1992.[30]
  2. "You Don't Love Me Anymore" (Yankovic)[13] – 4:00
    • Original;[23] this is a ballad that is addressed to an ex-girlfriend who did numerous exaggerated and deadly things to the oblivious singer.[30] From the 1992 album Off the Deep End.[3]
  3. "Smells Like Nirvana" (orig. Kurt Cobain, Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic, arr. Yankovic)[13] – 3:42
  4. "When I Was Your Age" (Yankovic)[13] – 4:35
    • Original; the singer tells a child how he never had it as good as he does, but takes it to exaggerated lengths.[30] From the 1992 album Off the Deep End.[3]
  5. "I Can't Watch This" (orig. MC Hammer, Rick James, Alonzo Miller, arr. Yankovic)[13] – 3:31
  6. "Trigger Happy" (Yankovic)[13] – 3:46
  7. "Taco Grande" (orig. Christian Carlos Warren, Gerardo Mejia, Alberto Slezynger, and Rosa Soy, arr. Yankovic)[13] – 3:44
    • Parody of "Rico Suave" by Gerardo;[14] the song documents a narrator's visit to a Mexican restaurant. Cheech Marin does a brief Spanish monologue in the song.[30] From the 1992 album Off the Deep End.[3]
  8. "Bedrock Anthem" (orig. Anthony Kiedis, John Frusciante, Flea, Chad Smith, arr. Yankovic)[13] – 3:43
  9. "Harvey the Wonder Hamster" (Yankovic)[13] – 0:21
    • Original; this is a short song about the titular hamster.[32] From the 1993 album Alapalooza.[3]
  10. "Achy Breaky Song" (orig. Don Von Tress, arr. Yankovic)[13] – 3:23
  11. "Livin' in the Fridge" (org. Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Mark Hudson, arr. Yankovic)[13] – 3:55
  12. "Frank's 2000" TV" (Yankovic)[13] – 4:07
    • Style parody of R.E.M.'s early work;[16] a song about consumerism and modern electronics, describing the neighborhood's envy of the eponymous character's new television.[32] From the 1993 album Alapalooza.[3]
  13. "Jurassic Park" (orig. Jimmy Webb, arr. Yankovic)[13] – 3:55
  14. "Headline News" (orig. Brad Roberts, arr. Yankovic)[13] - 3:46

Credits and personnel[edit]

Chart positions[edit]

Singles[edit]

Year Song Peak positions
US
100

[12]
1994 "Headline News" 104

References[edit]

  1. ^ Yankovic, Alfred (February 1995). Visions of Gray. Interview with Jeff Elbel. Retrieved June 23, 2010. 
  2. ^ Yankovic, Alfred (February 2000). "'Ask Al' Q&As for February, 2000". WeirdAl.com. Retrieved June 21, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be bf bg bh bi bj bk bl Hansen, Barret (1994). Permanent Record: Al in the Box – Notes By Dr. Demento (liner). "Weird Al" Yankovic. California, United States: Scotti Brothers Records. 
  4. ^ Yankovic, Alfred (May 1999). "'Ask Al' Q&As for May, 1999". WeirdAl.com. Retrieved June 21, 2013. 
  5. ^ Yankovic, Alfred (August 1999). "'Ask Al' Q&As for August, 1999". WeirdAl.com. Retrieved June 21, 2013. 
  6. ^ a b Yankovic, Alfred (April 27, 2006). "'Ask Al' Q&As for April 27, 2006". WeirdAl.com. Retrieved June 21, 2013. 
  7. ^ a b c d Weber, Barry. Permanent Record: Al in the Box at AllMusic. Retrieved June 21, 2013.
  8. ^ a b Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (2004). The Rolling Stone Album Guide. New York City: Simon and Schuster. p. 893. ISBN 9781439109397. 
  9. ^ a b Eddy, Chuck (June 2009). "Essentials: Novelty Songs". Spin 25 (6): 90. Retrieved June 30, 2014. 
  10. ^ Rosen, Craig (Jul7 6, 1996). "'Weird Al' Yankovic Has His 'Day' on Scotti Bros.". Billboard 108 (27): 9; 103. 
  11. ^ Yankovic, Alfred (June 1999). "'Ask Al' Q&As for June, 1999". WeirdAl.com. Retrieved June 21, 2013. 
  12. ^ a b Yankovic, Alfred (2003). "Awards". WeirdAl.com. Retrieved December 11, 2008. 
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax Permanent Record: Al in the Box – Album Credits (liner). California, United States: Scotti Brothers Records. 1994. 
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa Yankovic, Alfred. "Parodies & Polkas". WeirdAl.com. Retrieved April 24, 2013. 
  15. ^ Tarnow, Noah (July 16, 1998). "Don't Knock The Knack". Rolling Stone (New York City, USA: Jann Wenner). 
  16. ^ a b c d e Rabin, Nathan (June 29, 2011). "'Weird Al' Yankovic | Music | Set List". The AV Club. The Onion. Retrieved June 29, 2011. 
  17. ^ Rabin, Nathan; Yankovic, Alfred (September 25, 2012). Weird Al: The Book. Abrams Image. p. 33. ISBN 9781419704352. 
  18. ^ Brian, Raftery (September 22, 2008). "Weird Al: Forefather of the YouTube Spoof". Wired. Archived from the original on October 21, 2008. Retrieved October 21, 2008. 
  19. ^ Mather, Marianne (February 20, 2011). "Story Time". Naperville Sun (Sun-Times Media Group). Retrieved April 29, 2013.  (subscription required)
  20. ^ Yankovic, Alfred (January 2000). "'Ask Al' Q&As for July 1999". WeirdAl.com. Archived from the original on June 24, 2010. Retrieved June 26, 2010. 
  21. ^ a b c d e f g Dare to Be Stupid (liner). "Weird Al" Yankovic. Scotti Bros. Records. 1985. 
  22. ^ Yankovic, Alfred (April 2000). "'Ask Al' Q&As for April 2000". WeirdAl.com. Retrieved 30 June 2010. 
  23. ^ a b 'Weird Al' Yankovic: The Ultimate Video Collection (Media notes). Jay Levey, "Weird Al" Yankovic. Volcano Entertainment. 2003. 82876-53727-9. 
  24. ^ Yankovic, Alfred (January 2000). "'Ask Al' Q&As for January 2000". WeirdAl.com. Retrieved June 30, 2010. 
  25. ^ a b c d Polka Party! (liner). "Weird Al" Yankovic. Scotti Brothers Records. 1986.  Note: the original vinyl and CD release of the album contained complete liner notes, which included lyrics. The 1991 re-issue, however, does not feature liner notes as a cost saving mechanism.
  26. ^ a b c d e f g Even Worse (liner). "Weird Al" Yankovic. Scotti Brothers Records. 1987.  Note: the original vinyl and CD release of the album contained complete liner notes, which included lyrics. The 1991 re-issue, however, does not feature liner notes as a cost saving mechanism.
  27. ^ Yankovic, Alfred (June 2006). "'Ask Al' Q&As for June 28, 2006". WeirdAl.com. Retrieved 30 June 2010. 
  28. ^ Yankovic, Alfred (January 2000). "'Ask Al' Q&As for January, 2000". WeirdAl.com. Retrieved 30 June 2010. 
  29. ^ a b c d e UHF – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack and Other Stuff (liner). "Weird Al" Yankovic. Scotti Bros. Records. 1989.  Note: the original vinyl release of the album contained complete liner notes, which included lyrics and personnel. The CD re-issue, however, only features minimal liner notes as a cost saving mechanism.
  30. ^ a b c d e f g Off the Deep End (liner). "Weird Al" Yankovic. Scotti Bros. Records. 1992. 
  31. ^ Yankovic, Alfred (March 1999). "'Ask Al' Q&As for March, 1999". WeirdAl.com. Retrieved June 26, 2010. 
  32. ^ a b c d e f Alapalooza (liner). "Weird Al" Yankovic. Scotti Brothers Records. 1993. 
  33. ^ a b c "The Players". WeirdAl.com. Archived from the original on July 17, 2010. Retrieved June 26, 2010. 

External links[edit]