Hear This: “White & Nerdy” planted the seeds for the “Weird Al” renaissance

In Hear This, The A.V. Club writers sing the praises of songs they know well. This week, we’re picking songs that saw an artist bounce back after releasing a dud of a record.

“Weird Al” Yankovic, “White & Nerdy” (2006)

“Weird Al” Yankovic‘s 2003 album Poodle Hat wasn’t exactly a flop—it charted well on Billboard, and earned the beloved parodist his third Grammy win. But it’s hard to listen to the album’s inoffensive parodies of Eminem, Avril Lavigne, and the Backstreet Boys now and catch any glimpse of the revitalized comic force the 40-year musical veteran has since become. Instead, Poodle Hat suggests a different, safer late-career arc for Yankovic, one that once seemed practically inevitable as the years ticked on: a quiet semi-retirement as a cultural footnote, gently regurgitating the day’s pop music to an aging segment of nostalgic fans. Outside …

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