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It took me until recently to really figure out what makes the "Weird Al" Yankovic song "The Saga Begins" work so well for me:

Al took the modern, melodramatic myth of George Lucas's Star Wars, sang about it to the tune of Don McLean's "American Pie," one of the most densely symbolic, thought-provoking, and theatrical pop songs ever written, and...


...and was completely matter-of-fact about it. Al's delivery is the musical version of "Yeah. That happened." "And in the end, some Gungans died/ Some ships blew up and some pilots fried/ A lot of folks were croakin'/ The battle droids were broken..."

Comedy is surprise. Al has made a hell of a career finding that surprise. On his first album, he sang about the then-newlywed Prince Charles and Princess Diana in a blues song. (Prescient, sadly, but Al had no way at the time of knowing that.) "One More Minute" takes doo-wop, a song genre full of love songs, and makes it a bitter, messy "get lost" anthem. His Beastie Boys-style version of the jingle "Twister" sounds a lot like the Beastie Boys but is completely unlike the band because the Beastie Boys eventually made a point of not selling their songs for jingles. His Bob Dylan tribute "Bob" embeds the song's joke in its own title; I admire that commitment to the idea. He took Jim Steinman/ Meat Loaf musical melodrama and applied it to a song about how annoying email forwards are. When writing his 2014 album Mandatory Fun, Al considered turning the Frozen anthem "Let It Go" into a song called "Make It So" (about Capt. Jean-Luc Picard of the Federation Starship Enterprise), but dropped the idea when he found someone had already done it. It wouldn't be enough of a surprise.

I'll keep looking forward to how Weird Al surprises us in the future. Meanwhile, the song, why not.