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|Song by "Weird Al" Yankovic|
|from the album Running with Scissors|
|Released||June 29, 1999|
|Recorded||October 15, 1998|
|Genre||Comedy rock, spoken word, hard rock|
|Songwriter(s)||"Weird Al" Yankovic|
|Producer(s)||"Weird Al" Yankovic|
|Running with Scissors track listing|
"Albuquerque" is the last song of "Weird Al" Yankovic's Running with Scissors album. At 11 minutes and 22 seconds, it is the longest song Yankovic has ever released on any of his official studio albums.
With the exception of the choruses and occasional bridges, the track is mostly a spoken word narration about Yankovic's made-up 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.
Song and lyrics
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. 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." 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), though full lyrics were posted to Yankovic's website.
The song starts by Al talking about his childhood with a paranoid mother who force-feeds him sauerkraut until he reaches age "twenty-six and a half". One day while listening to the radio, he hears about a contest in which contestants "guess the number of molecules on Leonard Nimoy's butt". He wins the contest, only being off by three. The grand prize is a first class one-way ticket to Albuquerque.
During the flight, three of the engines burn out, causing the plane to crash and explode, killing everyone on board except him. He finds himself crawling, while carrying all of his belongings, until he reaches his destination.
He rents 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 prized possession: his lucky snorkel. The two engage in a fight, only for the man to escape with his snorkel. He vows to stop at nothing until the mysterious man gets what he deserves, but then decides to buy some doughnuts first.
Upon driving to the local doughnut shop, he finds that they have run out of almost everything except for a box of rabid 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 on her and they break up, never to see each other again.
Shortly afterwards he gets his dream job and makes employee of the month when extinguishing a grease fire using his own face. This incident reminds him of a separate anecdote when he spots a man named Marty trying to carry a big couch up a flight of stairs. He asks if Marty needs help, to which Marty replies, "No, I want you to cut off my arms and legs with a chainsaw." Believing Marty was serious, Al complies. Marty then points out that his remark was sarcasm, but Al questions how he was supposed to know.
This reminds him of yet another incident in which a man tells him he "hasn't had a bite in three days". He responds by biting his jugular vein, but believes he "just can't take a joke" when he doesn't laugh. At this point, Al loses his train of thought, and reveals that the point he was attempting to make was his hatred for sauerkraut. He ends the song by attempting to give advice to the listener, claiming that no matter how hard life is, there's "still a little place called Albuquerque".
Recording and performance
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."
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. When performing this song live, Yankovic has been known to extend the song, by listing off more types of doughnuts, including blueberry, strawberry, raspberry, boysenberry, loganberry, gooseberry, Halle Berry, old-fashioned doughnuts 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, 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.
- Rabin, Nathan (2011-06-29). ""Weird Al" Yankovic". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2011-06-29.
- ""Ask Al" Q&As for April, 2000". Zomba Recordings LLC. Archived from the original on 2007-01-13. Retrieved 2011-11-04.
- ""Weird Al" Yankovic: The Ask Al Archive".
- ""Weird Al" Yankovic - Need I Say More?". Archived from the original on 2007-11-03.