D.A. Stern presents a cover of “Weird Al” Yankovic’s “Since You’ve Been Gone”, featuring Dams of the West (Chris Tomson of Vampire Weekend) on Stern‘s upcoming Mmxxtapedue 25 September. Covering the venerated champion of the unusual is an unenviable task. After all, Yankovic is the king of parody, a walking lexicon of humor and the musically absurd. Still, Stern was undeterred.
Stern says, “I love ‘Weird Al.’ Love him. A lot of people appreciate him and his character, but I believe he is an unheralded contributing factor for many people’s eclectic tastes. If you listened to a ‘Weird Al’ record at a young age, you could have been hearing (and liking!) alternative rock, rap, country, doo-wop, polka, tin pan alley, Top 40 pop, and I think that’s a very positive impression to be made during one’s formative listening years.” He adds, “I also think his non-parody originals contain a treasure trove of insight; he is an underrated writer who assembles musical building blocks, á la, say, Adam Schlesinger, to perfectly signify style and genre. I wanted to cover a few of my favorite of his originals, in homage, and put new spins on them.”
Appreciating the master’s compositional prowess is one thing. How does one provide a video for a cover of one of his songs? Stern says it’s easy: Use Coldplay’s clip for “Yellow” as your source material. The clip, directed by Graham Ohmer of YouTube’s Round Two is a brilliant bit of meta direction. Stern misses none of Yankovic’s original intentions on this cover, delivering a masterful rendering that taps into the composer’s grasp of creating a plate of pop perfection that is at once sincere and ironic.