Ostensibly the soundtrack to Weird Al’s cinematic debut, UHF features a number of tracks from the movie as well as several originals not featured in the film.
The album features all the staples he had become noted for -– wickedly accurate parodies, wacky comedy lyrics, polkas, and inspired original material. It also features several TV commercials from the film.
Due to the album’s cinematic link, a number of the tracks received exposure through ready-made videos, most notably “Money For Nothing/Beverly Hillbillies*.”
“Weird Al” Yankovic — UHF: Track-by-track review
1. “Money For Nothing/Beverly Hillbillies*”
This is one of the more inspired Al parodies, splicing the lyrics to the Beverly Hillbillies theme to the music of Dire Straits’ “Money For Nothing.”
In order to get permission to do the parody, Al had to agree to a number of conditions laid down by lead Dire Straits man Mark Knopfler. The main one was the title had to clearly reflect that the song was a parody, and couldn’t be mistaken for the Dire Straits track.
As Al explains on the commentary track for the UHF DVD, “We had to name that song “Money for Nothing slash Beverly Hillbillies asterisk” because the lawyers told us that had to be the name.”
A further condition was that Knopfler wanted to re-perform his guitar parts on the track. He also managed to drag fellow Straits member Guy Fletcher in to re-perform his synth parts on the track as well.
2. “Gandhi II”
This was a fake movie trailer used as a TV commercial in the film. The audio track is reminiscent of “The Theme from Shaft” and the lyrics re-imagine Ghandi as an action hero, in the style of Shaft or Rambo, with lines like “no more Mr. Passive Resistance” and “he’s back and this time he’s MAD!”
3. “Attack Of The Radioactive Hamsters From A Planet Near Mars”
An original track in the style of “Gimme Three Steps” by Lynyrd Skynyrd. True to the song’s title, the lyrics chronicle the invasion of Earth by radioactive hamsters from a planet near Mars. They invade the planet in “UFOs shaped like Cuban cigars.” The song features hamster-related lyrics like “now the whole wide world is their exercise wheel.”
Al has revisited the themes of invasion and hamsters time and again during his career, even featuring “Harvey the Wonder Hamster” on his TV show.
4. “Isle Thing”
This is a parody of Tone Loc’s “Wild Thing” with Al singing in a similar gruff baritone to Loc.
The track revolves around trying to date a girl who’s hooked on the 60’s TV show Gilligan’s Island (the ‘Isle Thing’ of the title).
The lyrics make fun of the glaringly obvious absurdities surrounding the show’s premise, including how it was named — “one of [the castaways] named Gilligan said let’s name it after me” — and the amazing things the Professor created — “He could build a nuclear reactor from a couple of coconuts.” It also questions why they spent so long on the island: “If he’s so fly, then tell me why he couldn’t build a lousy raft.”
The song also used a number of lyrical motifs familiar to the rap world, referencing how the narrator “journeyed to her crib” and that “those homeboys brought an awful lot for just a three hour tour.”
By the song’s end the rapper, the girl and the girl’s mom all settle down and enjoy the rest of the Gilligan’s Island marathon.
5. “The Hot Rocks Polka”
The fourth polka medley by Al, featuring his able accordion playing.
Unlike his other polkas, this one is comprised of tracks by only one artist — the Rolling Stones. The polka features twelve Stones tracks including “Satisfaction,” “Ruby Tuesday” and “Sympathy for the Devil.”
An original track in the style of “State of Shock” by The Jacksons and Mick Jagger. The lyrics deal with all the wonders a person can find on UHF TV channels, and the lengths a person should go to to enjoy them.
Disconnect the phone and
Leave the dishes in the sink
You better put away your homework
Prime time ain’t no time to think
The video featured parodies of a number of popular music videos of the time including “Faith” by George Michael and “Once in a Lifetime” by Talking Heads.
7. “Let Me Be Your Hog”
A seventeen second garage-rock track in the style of 60s bands like the Stooges (who wrote the similarly titled “I Wanna Be Your Dog”).
In the film it’s played during the scene where Al’s Uncle Harvey is lounging by the pool.
8. “She Drives Like Crazy”
This is a parody of Fine Young Cannibal’s “She Drives Me Crazy.” Sung in a falsetto similar to the original, the lyrics deal with a dreadful female driver and her horrendous driving ability (she does “eighty in second gear”).
9. “Generic Blues”
A very generic (but original) blues track in the style of B.B. King. The lyrics feature a number of obvious and deliberate blues clichés, many of them comedic (“my brothers and sisters hated me, because I was an only child”).
King himself has called the song one of his top 10 favourite blues tracks.
10. “Spatula City”
A TV commercial from the film that describes a fictional superstore which specialises in one product only — spatulas.
The track parodies the Remington Razors CEO and spokesman Victor Kiam with the line “I liked their spatulas so much, I bought the company.”
11. “Fun Zone”
This is an original instrumental track in the style of Devo. In the film it was featured in a scene where Stanley Spadowski (Michael Richards) rides around in a fire truck during the taping of his TV show “Stanley Spadowski’s Clubhouse.”
“Fun Zone” is played at the beginning of all of Weird Al’s concerts.
A parody of R.E.M.’s “Stand,” the track revolves around the wonders of the tinned meat product.
With a slight nod to the Monty Python ode to the meat product, the lyrics describe all the ways you can serve the dish (“makes a darn good sandwich any way you slice it”), where you can eat it (“Spam in the place where I live”, “Spam in my lunch box at work”).
The lyrics also touch on the questionable content of Spam — “is it mystery meat”, “ham and pork” and “wonder if it’s pre-cooked, I’ll just eat it cold.”
13. “The Biggest Ball Of Twine In Minnesota”
One of Al’s rambling album closers, the lyrics deal with a family trying to decide where to go on holiday and their subsequent journey to Darwin, Minnesota to see the titular twine ball. While an original composition, the song’s style parodies the storytelling lyrical style of Harry Chapin and Gordon Lightfoot.
All the attractions mentioned are real attractions and are taken from the book Roadside America.
The song features plenty of rhymes with “Minnesota”, some of which are rather forced:
I can’t think of anywhere else I’d rather go-da
Than to see the biggest ball of twine in Minnesota
UHF by “Weird Al” Yankovic
“Money For Nothing/Beverly Hillbillies*”
“Attack Of The Radioactive Hamsters From A Planet Near Mars”
“The Hot Rocks Polka”
“Let Me Be Your Hog”
“She Drives Like Crazy”
“The Biggest Ball Of Twine In Minnesota”