Things get weird on the pop scene today (July 15) as Weird Al Yankovic comes out with his new album "Mandatory Fun."
As usual, Yankovic parodies a number of recent big hits, including Pharrell Williams' "Happy " (as "Tacky"), Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" ("World Crimes"), Iggy Azalea's "Fancy" ("Handy"), Lorde's "Royals" ("Foil") and Imagine Dragons' "Radioactive" (as "Inactive").
A "NOW That's What I Call Polka!" medley, meanwhile, sends up Miley Cyrus' "Wrecking Ball," Foster the People's "Pumped Up Kicks," Daft Punk's "Get Lucky," LMFAO's "Sexy and I Know It," Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' "Thrift Shop" and several others.
Yankovic, who's had controversial dealings in the past with James Blunt, Eminem and others, tells us that "Mandatory Fun" is one of the first albums he's made where he had no trouble getting permission to do all the parodies he wanted:
"I was very lucky. This is my first album in a long time that didn't have any actual drama. It seems like my last few albums have always had some kind of problems around the release, and this is the first time where I've gotten everybody that I wanted, and I couldn't be happier about it."
Pharrell was particularly happy, according to Yankovic, with three of his songs -- "Happy," "Blurred Lines" and "Get Lucky" -- treated on the album:
"He's well-represented on the album...My manager was having a tough time getting ahold of Pharrell through is representatives. In the meanwhile, I somehow, and I'm not at liberty to say how, I somehow got Pharrell's personal email address and I sent him an email requesting permission, and he could not have been nicer. He sent me a very sweet email back immediately saying he'd be honored. I was just blown away. He was just the sweetest guy."
Yankovic has filmed videos for eight of "Mandatory Fun's" songs and started releasing them one a day on Monday (July 14). He's planning to tour next year.