Albuquerque (song)

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"Albuquerque"
Song by "Weird Al" Yankovic
from the album Running with Scissors
ReleasedJune 29, 1999 (1999-06-29)
RecordedOctober 15, 1998
Genre
Length11:23
LabelVolcano
Songwriter(s)"Weird Al" Yankovic
Producer(s)"Weird Al" Yankovic

"Albuquerque" is the last song of "Weird Al" Yankovic's Running with Scissors album. At 11 minutes and 23 seconds, it is the longest song Yankovic has ever recorded.

With the exception of the choruses and occasional bridges, the track is mostly a spoken word narration about a made-up person's life in Albuquerque, New Mexico, after winning a first-class one-way airplane ticket to the city. According to Yankovic, the song is in the style of the "hard-driving rock narrative" of artists like The Rugburns, Mojo Nixon and George Thorogood.[1]

Song and lyrics[edit]

Yankovic set off to write the lengthy song, considering it as a final track for Running with Scissors. The long, meandering story was not expected to be popular and instead Yankovic wanted to compose a song "that's just going to annoy people for 12 minutes", making it feel like an "odyssey" for the listener after making it through to the end.[1] Yankovic described writing the song as "free flowing," writing down a great deal of material he thought would be funny including previous anecdotes he had recorded, and trimming it down to form a lengthy "semi-cohesive story."[1] The lyrics were too long to include in the liner notes for the album (it ends mid-sentence and goes into a written apology by Yankovic), saying that the listener will have to figure them out for themselves. The full lyrics were posted to Yankovic's website.[2]

The song starts with Al talking about his childhood with a paranoid mother who force-feeds him sauerkraut until he is "26 and a half" years old. One day while listening to the radio, he hears about a contest in which contestants "correctly guess the number of molecules in Leonard Nimoy's butt". He wins the contest, only being off by 3. The grand prize is a first class one-way ticket to Albuquerque.

During the flight, 3 of the engines burn out, causing the plane to crash and explode, killing everyone on board, except him since he "had his tray table up and his seat back in the full upright position". He finds himself crawling, while carrying some random things of his belongings, until he reaches his destination.

He checks into a hotel, taking his time to relax until someone knocks. Although he asks multiple times who it is, he receives no answer. When he finally opens the door himself, he's greeted by "a big, fat hermaphrodite with a Flock of Seagulls haircut and only one nostril", who rushes in and grabs his lucky snorkel. The two engage in a fight, only for the "one-nostriled" man to escape with his snorkel. He vows to stop at nothing until the mysterious man "was brought to justice", but then decides to buy some donuts first.

Upon driving to the local donut shop, he finds that they ran out of almost everything, except for a box of crazed weasels. He purchases the box, only for the weasels inside to latch on and bite his face. As he runs around town screaming for help, he runs into a woman named Zelda, who points out the weasels on his face. The two fall in love, marry, buy a house, and have children. One night, after Zelda asks him about joining the Columbia Record Club, he freaks out due to his fear of commitment and they break up, never to see each other again.

Shortly afterwards he "achieved his lifelong dream": getting a part-time job at the Sizzler, where he makes employee of the month for extinguishing the grease fire using his own face. He then tells an anecdote about the time he spotted his Sizzler co-worker Marty trying to carry "a big ol' sofa" up a flight of stairs. He asks Marty if he needs help, to which Marty replies sarcastically, "Nooo, I want you to cut off my arms and legs with a chainsaw!" Taking Marty literally, Al complies. Marty then points out that his remark was not serious, but Al questions how he was supposed to know. Later, the man earns the nickname "Torso Boy".

This reminds him of yet another incident in which a man tells him he "hasn't had a bite in 3 days". He responds by biting his jugular vein, causing the man to start screaming and bleeding everywhere. Al believes some people "just can't take a joke" when they don't laugh.

At this point, Al loses his train of thought, and reveals that the point he was trying to attempt was his hatred for sauerkraut. He ends the song by giving advice to the listener, claiming that no matter how hard life is, there's "still a little place in this world called Albuquerque".

Recording and performance[edit]

At the end of the song (around 11:20, after the music ends), faint laughter can be heard in the background. As Yankovic says, "That's Jim West laughing - I thought it would be a good way to end the album. He's cracking up because of the stupid chord he played at the end of the song."[3]

Reception[edit]

Contrary to Yankovic's belief that the song would not be popular, it was one of the best-received songs from the album, and Yankovic incorporated the song as an encore to his tours.[1] When performing this song live, Yankovic has been known to extend the song, by listing off more types of donuts, including blueberry, strawberry, raspberry, boysenberry, loganberry, gooseberry, Halle Berry, Chuck Berry, old-fashioned donuts and Nanaimo bars (when performing in British Columbia), as well as Saskatoon berry donuts (when performing in Saskatchewan); listing more names "Zelda" calls Yankovic; not telling the "amusing anecdote" at first; and even starting the song over completely after he "loses his train of thought." When performing this song live in Canada, Al is known to replace the dream job at Sizzler with one at Tim Hortons,[4] a Canadian doughnut shop. During the guitar solo of the third chorus, Yankovic sometimes introduces West eagerly, but West plays "Mary Had a Little Lamb" instead of the real solo. Yankovic acts disappointed, and West walks away acting ashamed.

On November 15, 2011, a user named RWappin uploaded a fan-made animated music video titled "Weird Al Yankovic - Albuquerque: THE MOVIE" (originally from 2006) that has gotten 3 million views as of October 2020.[5] Although fan-made, users have compared it in quality to a video that could be official.[citation needed]

Doom 3 contains a thin reference to the song - an email in one of the in-game PDAs mentions a character whose arms and legs were dismembered by the "Albuquerck Capacitor", therefore giving him the nickname "Torso Boy".[citation needed]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Rabin, Nathan (2011-06-29). ""Weird Al" Yankovic". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2011-06-29.
  2. ^ ""Ask Al" Q&As for April, 2000". Zomba Recordings LLC. Archived from the original on 2007-01-13. Retrieved 2011-11-04.
  3. ^ ""Weird Al" Yankovic: The Ask Al Archive".
  4. ^ ""Weird Al" Yankovic - Need I Say More?". Archived from the original on 2007-11-03.
  5. ^ "Weird Al Yankovic - Albuquerque: THE MOVIE". Archived from the original on 2021-12-21 – via YouTube.