Why It's Time for YouTube to Ban Song Parodies
It has been too long since Weird Al Yankovic last reared his goofy head and released an album of popular song parodies. In his absence, everyone with a YouTube account has accepted Al's dare to be stupid. The result has been, at best, pretty horrible. At worst, the dare has resulted in countless parodies of The Lonely Island's "I'm On A Boat," because if anything's begging for a parody, it's something that's already funny. You might as well make a spoof of The 40-Year-Old Virgin. Oh, wait, someone already did.
Back in the Golden Yankoyears, a song would become popular, Al would release a parody and that would be that. But with no "official" parody, a song like Katy Perry's California Gurls spawns upwards of ninety thousand "funny" versions, most of which couldn't wipe Weird Al's ass if they had a handsomely-paid ass-wiping butler. If Weird Al stopped releasing parodies 15 years ago, I'm sure we'd all be treated to gems like "Gangsta's Paralyzed" and "Fangs With Scary Eyes." The future corpse of Mr. Yankovic is already rolling in its Moon grave, and YouTube is space-dancing on it. To add insult to injury, it's not even space-dancing to a polka; it's space-dancing to "I'm On a Slope" or "I've Got a Throat."
The most recent victim of this disease (monospoofleosis) is Cee Lo Green's "Fuck You." Check out the simple yet extremely effective video below ...
Of course, because it's a great and popular song, YouTube must band together and run it into the ground with lazy concepts (like a surprising amount of "female perspectives") and mediocre video production. Way too many of the spoofs are labeled as the "official" "Fuck You" parody, and almost all of them are only parodies in the loosest definition of the word. For example, the official parody, "You Slut You," has different lyrics from the original, but the sentiment is basically the same: A guy is upset with a girl and chastises her. That's not really a parody, buddy. It's just changing the words slightly. It's like making a parody of "California Gurls" but calling it "West Coast Ladeez." If you're going to capitalize on a song's popularity, at least add an ounce of originality to it. Other parodies that aren't even parodies at all are just alternate videos set to the original song. Excuse me while I sarcastically clap for all eternity.
OK, now that eternity's over, I should also mention that (laziest lyrics ever aside) a lot of these official parodies sound pretty awful. No one expects you to sound like Cee Lo. That's nearly impossible. What you should be able to do, though, is hit the intended notes. Otherwise maybe just don't do it? This isn't even about having a "good" voice. It's musical comedy; you shouldn't be required to sound like Paul McCartney. Weird Al doesn't. I don't. But we do actually hit the notes, which is more than can be said for "Screw You," "No Views" and "Frak You." Thank God for auto-tune, but not really. The guiltiest and most unintentionally hilarious of these is embedded below for your ironic pleasure.
The first thing you might notice is that the key is higher than the original, I guess to make the notes easier to hit. But, nope. Not easier. The guy has also decided to mumble the words and then bring the volume down another 10 decibels, just in case your speakers weren't already set to negative one. Even if I spoke fluent Dutch, I'd probably think he was singing in Whale.
So, these official parodies aren't creative or pleasing to the ears, but they must at least look pretty good, right? It can't be that hard to imitate text popping up like in the original video, can it? Surely by now you know what the answers to these questions will be, don't you? No, despite how easy it actually is to imitate the original text style, no one seems to care enough to even try. I can't say I'm that surprised, but I guess I hoped for a little more than karaoke text. The closest imitator is the official parody, "Duck Poo," but it's fucking called "Duck Poo," so subtract infinite points from Gryffindor. Some sample lyrics from "Duck Poo": "A senior fighting brown cows whipping curly blobs, and I like Duck Poo!" That's right. Not only is it not clever at all, but it makes less sense than purse burglar palindrome pizza.
I very sincerely hope Mr. Yankovic returns to his throne soon and wipes these pale (however official they may be) imitations off the face of my ears. I'm sure he'd release something at least mildly amusing like "Sudoku." Until then, though, I offer you my official official "Fuck You" parody, "Funny," found below. It is a musical plea to PLEASE STOP MAKING TONS OF SHITTY PARODIES OF GOOD SONGS. It's from the point of view of Cee Lo himself, but it's sung by some auto-tuned jaggoff from the Internet. And don't be alarmed when you notice that it looks almost exactly like the original video. You see, I spent more than an hour on it.
Cody wasn't in Gnarls Barkley, but he was in LeBomb James. He has blogs and Twitters and Facebooks.