'Weird Al' Yankovic’s second album finds him with a full band now, and the sound is certainly an improvement over his self-titled 1983 debut, although the overall material isn't particularly stronger.
The opening “Eat It - an adaptation of Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” - was the hit here, and also my introduction to Yankovic all those years ago, but a few of the best songs (which is often the case with his career) are his original compositions, particularly “Midnight Star” (about outlandish tabloid-type magazines), the terrific “That Boy Could Dance”, and the concluding “Nature Trail to Hell”, an amusing jab at the slasher films of the eighties, and one of my all-time favourite Yankovic tunes.
Other artists who have their songs changed are The Police (“King of Suede”), Survivor ("Theme from Rocky XIII") and Men Without Hats (“The Brady Bunch”), which I admit to finding a bit disappointing originally - it's clever how Yankovic puts words to the show's theme song to the music, but it would've been more fun if he'd made actual funny references to Mike and Carol and the gang.
The curious thing is, as I look back on when I bought this back when I was a teenager, I didn't 'get' some of the stuff. I didn't know about the likes of Weekly World News until I visited the USA in 1999, while I've only really found out that Ron Popeil (the subject of the B-52s-styled "Mr Popeil") is an actual person who seems to be the godfather of infomercials.
And that's a problem with Yankovic - his topics and references are very American, and while I often critisise Australia for being too American-influenced, there's still a surprising amount of American stuff that I'm clueless about.
But through all the lyrics of varying quality, I've always admired Yankvic's instrumental talents. Listen to his piano playing on "That Boy Could Dance" and tell me that's not good.
Overall, In 3-D
really isn't all that funny, and - like all his releases - the musical quality of the songs he parodies partly dictates the standard of his records, but it's certainly entertaining, and one of Yankovic's better efforts. Rated:
by Reviewer: The Doctor