On July 21st, 2015, I will achieve my life-long dream of seeing Weird Al live for free (details here).
However, I must lament the fact that Weird Al will very likely only play his latest polka medley.
The polka medleys are a trademark of Al's, having been featured on twelve of his fourteen albums. Maybe it's just me, but for me, Weird Al's polka medleys have always been the highlight of his work for the sole reason that it exposes the silliness of popular music simply by repackaging them in the squarest genre of music possible.
Performing any polka besides the most recent one would be too anachronistic and possibly alienating to all the bandwagoners that started appreciating the genius of Weird Al as of Mandatory Fun.
In order to come to terms with achieving my dream of seeing Weird Al live and knowing he won't be playing my favorite polka medleys, I'm making myself (and all of you) revisit all of Weird Al's polkas so we won't be disappointed when he skips over a couple of these classic medleys live on Tuesday.
All 12 Weird Al Polka Medleys, Ranked.
12) "Bohemian Polka" - Alapalooza (1993).
The Bohemian Rhapsody polka parody is hilarious and showcases Al's genuine musical ability. A lot of people think they can sing this song but they can't. Only Freddie Mercury and Weird Al can.
Unfortunately, it is not a medley. That means it cannot rank any higher on the list.
Sorry, but I like my medleys to have a little variety. But I guess that's what makes Al weird...
THE BEST PART: The comically long breath at the beginning.
11) "Hot Rocks Polka" - UHF Soundtrack (1989)
Would The Rolling Stones still be a beloved band if Weird Al had not given their careers a much-needed shot in the arm with this Rolling Stones polka medley?
And while we do appreciate the gall of doing an entire Rolling Stones polka medley, it still lacks the variety we crave from his polka medleys.
THE BEST PART: Ruby Tuesday.
10) "Polkas on 45" - "Weird Al" in 3D (1984)
The first ever polka medley feels very much like an experiment as it lacks the cohesion that would later become apparent once it began his trademark.
It's still fun because you just imagine Weird Al thinking, "Wouldn't it would be weird if I made a polka medley?" YEAH, AL. IT WOULD BE WEIRD.
THE BEST PART: "I'm Hot Blooded" all smoothed out / crooning "Every Breath You Take"
9) "The Alternative Polka" - Bad Hair Day (1996)
The first Weird Al polka to address its theme in the title!
Who doesn't love listening to Weird Al knock the alternative movement, which at the time was still burgeoning, down a peg and reveal it could be just as silly as pop (if not sillier)?
THE BEST PART: the harmonies on "Loser" / Sheryl Crow.
8) "Now That's What I Call Polka!" - Mandatory Fun (2014)
What's strange about this most recent polka is that Weird Al doesn't seem to have any contempt for popular music, which is how people normally react to new music as they age.
Rather than explicitly mock these songs, he finds a way to channel their fun and make it exponentially better with his accordion.
THE BEST PART: Chiming in on "Thrift Shop" (as much as it kills me to endorse that song in any way).
7) "Polkarama" - Straight Outta Lynwood (2006)
By 2006, pop music had appropriated aspects of rock, hip-hop and dance. Surely Al's polka medleys would suffer from the cross-pollination of the genres? No.
It turns out that his 2006 effort was a vehicle to showcase his range as a musician. I mean, can you imagine anyone else pulling off a polka version of "Drop It Like It's Hot"?
THE BEST PART: Weird Al asking listeners if they wished their girlfriends were hot like him. The answer is "OF COURSE YES!"
6) "Polka Face" - Alpocalypse (2011)
Just like "Polkarama", Weird Al seamlessly blends rap, pop, country and whatever the hell kind of music Owl City makes for a cohesive polka experience.
THE BEST PART: The trombone (?) in "Baby" / Rapping better than Jamie Foxx
5) "Polka Your Eyes Out" - Off The Deep End (1992)
This may have been made in music's tackiest period, but it only makes the polka medley better.
Singing the songs straighter than ever before, it's a stripped down, straight to the point polka that lets you enjoy the gaudiness of Vanilla Ice, Motley Crue and the Divinyls in just over 4 minutes.
THE BEST PART: "PUMP UP THE JAM!" leading into REM.
4) "Angry White Boy Polka" - Poodle Hat (2003)
There is no target for musical parody more satisfying than the aggro-alpha males of early 2000s nü-metal.
THE BEST PART: System of a Down / "OOO-WHA-AHA-HA".
3) "Hooked on Polkas" - Dare To Be Stupid (1985)
From Weird Al's seminal album Dare To Be Stupid (the title track even prompted Devo's Mark Mothersbaugh to declare it the best Devo song ever written), this polka medley is bang on from start to finish.
And if you'll allow me to nitpick for a sec, Weird Al's Tina Turner might be the funniest thing he's ever done.
THE BEST PART: That Tina Turner impression, obviously!
2) "Polka Power" - Running with Scissors (1999)
Perhaps you think I'm being biased by putting this polka so close to the top because Running with Scissors was one of my first CDs (played regularly until the disc couldn't be read anymore) and the songs included in this time-capsule are particularly nostalgic for me...
...but to that I say it's all about the flow. The flow of this medley is second to one. Which is why it's at #2.
THE BEST PART: All of it.
1) "Polka Party!". Polka Party! (1986)
Though it's low on the actual polka interludes in between songs, the title track off 1986's Polka Party was the first polka medley that really serves as a time-capsule of the hottest songs.
This is the polka that set the structure for future polka medleys, and for that it must be considered the all-time greatest polka. Also, it's great! Who doesn't get shivers down their spine when Al chants, "Keep my baby! Keep my baby! Keep my baby!"?
THE BEST PART: Madge.
DO YOU HATE THIS RANKING? I'D LIKE NOTHING MORE THAN TO GET INTO A HUGE DEBATE ABOUT THE MERITS OF WEIRD AL'S POLKA MEDLEYS IN THE COMMENTS!
Or you could tell me I'm an idiot on July 21st when we all go see Weird Al live for free at Place-des-Arts! It's the big stage with all the accordion music! You can't miss it.