Movin’ On

Let’s face it, reader. This place is a sad excuse for a place. That sentence was a sad excuse for a sentence. Gone Home is a sad excuse for a video game. These are just truths that we have to deal with.

I’ve decided to pack up, and move on with my life. Effective immediately, ol’ MAASOO won’t have any more posts on it. I appreciated being able to mess around with it, but the fact of the matter is I was never going to be able to get back to being as enthusiastic about it as I was when I started it over four years and 170 posts ago.

Which isn’t to say I’m giving up, or getting rid of it. Quite the contrary. I’m rebooting. Even the best Doctors must regenerate (I’m looking at you, Tom Baker), and as such I’m going to start a new WP blog on which I can give myself a new start.

This one’ll still be here for your pleasure (read: continued torment), but I thought this was the best way to do it. New URL, new design, new ideas. Theoretically, this’ll stay here as a fossil until the person footing the bill for the domain (my loving father) pulls the plug. Which really won’t be a travesty, because, to be honest, this stuff was never that great.

Which is part of the reason I’m starting over. This way, ideally, when I look back over my backlog, I won’t be disgusted by my vapid writing, and will be able to say, insightfully, “heh.”

So, there’s the rub. Head on over to (snappy, huh?) and enjoy the show. Thanks for hanging out.

Weekly Update- 7/25/15

This week I played a lot of Team Fortress 2. Like, a lot. Far too much. I’m trying my hand at two classes which I haven’t spent a lot of time with, the Pyro and the Medic. The Pyro I’m actually enjoying a hell of a lot more than I thought I would, and I’m finding myself having to be a lot more aggressive than I would be with the classes I normally play. It’s an interesting way to change it up. My main class, the Demoman, normally relies on maintaining distance and picking off targets from a range with the grenade launcher, and I only really get up close to finish off a weak enemy. With the Pyro, however, the only way to make sure they go down is to ambush them with the flamethrower and keep the pressure on them, because if they get away from your range you’re pretty much dead. The particular weapon I’ve been using is the Phlogistinator, which allows the user to taunt and have free crits for a short time after inflicting enough burn damage, simultaneously replenishing all your health in the process. As such, remaining in the thick of things and taking a lot of fire is pretty much the only viable strategy, which can be nerve-wracking, but a lot of fun.

I’ve also been dabbling with Medic, at which I’m a lot worse. I’ve changed my typical loadout to include the Crusader’s Crossbow, which can be used to heal teammates at a distance, and the Ubersaw, which is difficult to use but can give you free invulnerability if you’re good with it. And on rare occasions, I can be, so that’s been pretty fun to dabble with.

Next on the list is more Rocket League. One of the features of Rocket League is a D-Pad-based voice command system, which allows players to express such emotions as “Nice shot!”, “What a save!”, and, my personal favorite, “Wow!”. A couple of friends and I, late one night, elected to change our Steam names to “Wow!”, all adopt the same profile picture and car customization, and spam the “Wow!” command every time we scored a goal. Hilarity ensued.

After that I tried a game that’s been on my list for a while, and it’s one that one of my friends so adamantly recommends to me that she actually went ahead and bought it for me so that I’d feel guilty for not playing it. That game is Psychonauts. Now, I’m not a huge fan of a lot of Double Fine’s work, and I’ve been pretty unimpressed by some of Tim Schafer’s actions to date, but I have to say, this game is fun. The premise of the game is pretty much what would happen if Tim Burton made Camp Lazlo. The writing is hilarious (playfully punching a seagull to death while cheerfully shouting “see ya in hell!” is one of life’s simple pleasures), the level design is clever, and the platforming is just really smooth and fun. I’m excited to dig deeper into this one, despite the fact that it creeps me out at times and most of the characters are (purposefully) hideous.

Last this week was a weird little game called Clouds Below. I don’t really know how I found this or why exactly I downloaded it, but it was free, and it was … sort of … fun? It’s kind of like if thatgamecompany’s fantastic Journey was mixed with The Wind Waker and run on a mobile phone with the Unreal Engine. I dunno. It looks nice, it plays really shoddily, and the exploration is decent. It took me about 15 minutes to finish, but … I dunno. I mean, it was free, and it’s not … unenjoyable. Just weird. Which I guess isn’t terrible. Check it out if you feel like it, I guess.

Next time on Weekly Update: More Psychonauts, undoubtedly more soccar and TF2, and perhaps even some Half-Life 2. Stay tuned.

Weekly Update- 7/18/15

I started this week off making as much of a tribute as I could to the late, great Satoru Iwata, the president of Nintendo who passed away last week. Naturally, I had to play one of my favorite classic Nintendo games from his era, and the obvious choice was Super Mario Sunshine. This was actually one of the first games I ever played, and it still holds up 13 years later. To play it, you’d never know that it was only their second foray into 3D platforming with the series, the first being Mario 64, and it’s still quick and fluid (pardon the pun). I love pretty much everything about this game. It’s colorful, inventive, and really just a hell of a lot of fun. I sunk about 4 hours into it on Monday via a ROM I found online using the Dolphin emulator (I let myself sleep at night by saying it’s okay since I physically do own a GCN version of the game) and will probably be going back to it at some point this week. I recommend it wholeheartedly, though I know it’s a rather tough game to find these days, being two console generations old as it is.

Next, of course was Team Fortress 2. I went back to the Mann vs Machine pretty hard this week, reuniting with a couple of my gaming buddies from last summer when we did much the same, and we also had fun working a couple of our Gun Mettle contracts. One particularly notable contract rewarded me with a sticky bomb launcher with an unusual effect. For the TF2-uninitiated, that basically means it doesn’t do anything special that a normal sticky bomb launcher doesn’t, but it looks pretty cool and is fairly rare. Rare enough, evidently, for me to sell it on Steam’s community market for $250. Which was pretty awesome. In celebration, I bought a copy of Rocket League, and that’s where I sunk the rest of my time this week.

Most of my thoughts on Rocket League can be found in my review (linked above), but in essence it’s a sufficient amount of fun, and if you have a couple of friends who are as bad at it as you are, hours of enjoyment and hilarity await. It’s free for PS+ members at the moment, and it’s only $20 on Steam. Pick it up.

Next time on Weekly Update – likely more TF2 and Rocket League, and most likely some Fire Emblem and some Psychonauts, which has been on my list for a while now. Stay tuned!

Rocket League Review

Anyone who knows what types of games I’m interested in knows that racing games and sports games are not among them. So I didn’t really expect to like Rocket League all that much, knowing as little as I do about both of those genres of games. Luckily, Rocket League isn’t really in either of those genres, and is instead in a genre that I would christen “insane fast rocket cars with big sportsballs and stunts”, or, to put it more succinctly, “Soccar”.

rocket league logo

Rocket League is deceptively simple. The controls are basic, the game modes and customization options are sparse, and the basic concept is pretty much right there once you start it up. It’s soccer. With cars. Fast cars. Like, stupid fast. And they can jump. And do flips and barrel rolls and boost. And blow each other up. All the while attempting to nudge, slam, or boost an oversized soccer ball into their opponent’s goal, while keeping it out of their own. And that’s it. But that’s not nearly the end of the fun.

As I said, Rocket League is deceptively simple. Yes, it’s true that your basic goal (pardon the pun) is always the same, and always in sight, but going about scoring is a beautiful game of maneuvering and drifting around the pitch, attempting to not only score your own goals, but thwart your opponent’s attempts at scoring theirs. And the defensive game is as much fun, if not more fun, than the offensive game. The thing about Rocket League is that it’s beautiful, not only in terms of its sharp graphics and textures (the grass is amazing!) but in terms of the moment-to-moment flow of the game. Anything can change in an instant, and pulling off a complex shot or blocking a goal at the last minute is one of the most rewarding feelings in any game I’ve ever played. That could be because it doesn’t happen often.

rocket league

Rocket League has an unending learning curve, and while it’s always fun, it’s even more fun to see yourself getting better. Judging distances and speeds, mastering mid-air maneuvers, and getting better control of how to zip around the pitch are among the skills you’ll need to hone to play better, and the good news is that it’s incredibly simple to pick up, grab a party, and find a game (1v1, 2v2, 3v3, and 4v4 are all options). The connections to online players can be a bit dodgy at times, but that’s no problem, since the AI players are outstanding. In fact, playing with a couple of friends against AI players is a great way to improve your teamwork and get a better feel for the game. It can be chaotic at times, but nothing feels better than setting up a shot for a friend and it paying off.

It’s also a game of sacrifices. Boosting is important to get around the field, but if you find yourself without it, the ball can quickly change sides and leave you in the dust. It can be fun to demolish your opponents, but overall it’s only a minor hindrance toward your real goal. There were many a time when I wanted to pull off an awesome move and failed entirely before realizing that all I would have had to do to score was push it a little bit. That said, nothing beats a complex maneuver fully realized, and long-distance or aerial scores are some of the most rewarding things about Rocket League.

While there isn’t a lot of content to be had, there are a couple purely aesthetic customization options to unlock, and some solid splitscreen multiplayer options as well. It’s true that there’s only the one mode of play, but the fact that there’s always more to learn and another match to hop into keep it interesting, and it’s a whole lot of simple, stupid fun. Best sports game ever. 85/100.

Weekly Update- 7/11/15

Behold, a surefire way to ensure I have content at least weekly: random blatherings about video games that I’m playing! And shit! Whatever, it’s something, okay? Hopefully it won’t die like everything else I try to do here. Positive thoughts, folks. Anyway, let’s get down to business to defeat the Huns.

Definitely the game that’s sucked up the most of my time this week is XCOM: Enemy Unknown, which I just reviewed! It’s very good. There’s something about XCOM that manages to suck me in without fail every time I start to play it, and not only have I been hitting it pretty hard on PC, it’s been getting a lot of love on my iPad, as well. XCOM’s iPad version was on sale for 4th of July weekend, and it’s quite frankly the best mobile port of any game I’ve ever played. It’s not flawless, but the entire game translated pretty well to the smaller hardware, and a lot of the tweaks made in Enemy Within (which is the expansion I got with the iPad version but have yet to buy for PC) are really solid. It controls great, and the loading times aren’t too severe either. If you don’t have this game yet and you consider yourself a fan of the strategy genre, you’d be remiss not to pick this one up. It’s really drawing stuff.

Of course, I couldn’t play a tactical strategy game without being reminded of my absolute favorite 3DS game and favorite game in the genre, Fire Emblem Awakening. I’m currently smack-dab in the middle of a harrowing playthrough on Lunatic difficulty, or, as I like to call it, “Frederick Difficulty“. As the name suggests, Lunatic difficulty is insanely hard, and frustrating as all hell, and most of my time spent playing this game this week was trying the same level over and over again with different characters and strategies. It’s tough stuff, but this game deserves all the time in the world. It’s seriously fantastic, and I highly recommend that every 3DS owner pick it up. It’s the reason I bought the console, and I haven’t regretted it for one second.

Also on the handheld front this week I tried a couple of games for my neglected PS Vita, first of which was Killzone Mercenary. I’d never played another game in the Killzone series before, and I wasn’t too impressed with the only other FPS I’d played on the system (the rather shoddy port of a much beloved game of mine, Borderlands 2), but it was free for PS+ subscribers so I figured I’d give it a shot. I only played the first level, but I was seriously impressed with not only its tight, cover-based FPS gameplay, but also the visual integrity and nearly unnoticeable loading times. It’s got a great system of earning money for nearly everything, as its title would imply, and the campaign level I played was just at the right length of time and toughness to make it a great on-the-go FPS. I hope to play more of this one.

A slightly less impressive PS Vita game I picked up this week was Freedom Wars. I really only bought this one because I was looking for more games to play on the thing, and it’s not … bad, per se. I might even go so far as to say it’s good but not .. good. It’s okay. It’s pretty much a Monster Hunter ripoff with pretty cool grappling hooks an Orwellian storyline that, as someone who wrote his senior thesis on dystopian fiction, I can appreciate. It looks great and runs well, but what I’ve played of it so far is pretty repetitive and not that exciting. Things could always change, of course, and I’m willing to give it the benefit of the doubt, but right now it’s not really doing anything for me.

Back on the PC front, I spent a couple more hours in The Witcher 3 after putting it down for about a month. It’s still spectacular and one of the best-looking, most expansive, and most fun RPGs I’ve ever played, and I can pretty much leave it at that.

Last on the list this week, and undoubtedly the game I spent the most time in this week besides XCOM is my old standby, Team Fortress 2. There’s just something alluring about this 8-year veteran multiplayer FPS that just … gets it. Valve has always had a way to keep this game interesting, and lately it’s a tie between returning to Mann vs Machine with a few friends and the recently-added Gun Mettle Update. While this update does require a $6 participation fee, it more than makes up for it by giving you two contracts a week to complete, based on doing particular things as certain classes or achieving particular goals on certain maps. Completing these contracts will net you new items, many of which can be sold on the Steam Community Market to actually make you profit from buying the entry ticket. I’ve already made back all of my six bucks, and then some, and others have been far luckier than I. That said, it’s all over in September, so the sooner you get in on it, the better.


That about wraps that up. Let me know what you thought of this post and I’ll most likely completely ignore you, since I’m going to keep making them anyway. But seriously, talk to me, people. It’s so lonely here.


XCOM Enemy Unknown Review


[obligatory ‘wow i haven’t written in a long time hopefully that gets better’]

Tactical strategy games are a genre that have always been near and dear to my heart. Most notably, of course, is the Fire Emblem series (Awakening is still near the top of my favorite games of all time), though other games among the likes of Valkyria Chronicles and Cardhunter come to mind. While the main conceit of XCOM is indeed its gripping segments of tactical cover-based strategy, the overall picture it paints is much more than that, and while the moment-to-moment gameplay presents us with several important tactical decisions to make, the overall run of your game will depend drastically on the impacts of those decisions, and others that you make along the way.

xcom logoXCOM’s plot is fairly rudimentary, tasking us as the leader of a paramilitary operation in charge of stopping an oncoming alien threat and ultimately figuring out what it is they want. Along the way, we’re also given command of a team of soldiers, all of whom are fully customizable in appearance and name, allowing us to have some more attachment to them beyond their use. One of the few things XCOM doesn’t do is give us any story-based reason to care about these soldiers beyond their tactical place on our battlefield. Forgive the comparison, but I can’t help be reminded of how much I grew to care about my forces in Fire Emblem Awakening, and how much of an impact that made on where I put them in the battlefield. That said, it’s not as if one doesn’t become attached to their forces in XCOM; indeed many a level were restarted because of a lost sniper or key assault unit I couldn’t do without. XCOM utilizes a perma-death mechanic common for strategy games like this, so once a soldier’s gone, he’s gone. Because of this, the level-based tactical strategy is very much defensively based– running and gunning without regard for where your enemies could be lurking will often get you killed, and brutally.

While XCOM’s base gameplay can be brutal and frustratingly difficult, it’s never unfair. Never did I feel like my defeat was undeserved, and when one of my soldiers bit the dust I knew it was because of recklessness on my part. That said, there’s always an element of randomness to the enemy’s tactics on the battlefield. If your move uncovers a previously unseen enemy, they’ll interrupt your turn to scatter and get to safety. That said, these same enemies don’t move until you see them, for whatever reason, so the system can sort of be gamed by fighting the aliens in chunks and healing/reloading in between. This isn’t really too much of a problem though, because XCOM’s playing fields are gorgeous, high in variety, and fully destructible. They will all look seriously different by the time you’re done with them. Did you miss your shot? That’s okay, because you destroyed half of that alien’s cover. Got a big cluster of ETs to contend with? Fire a rocket at that gas station and decimate that entire half of the map. The list goes on, but suffice it to say that if you don’t keep moving, especially early on, you’re dead.


That isn’t to say that your strategy won’t change, because it will. As you use your soldiers more and more, they gain rankings and get assigned various classes, among the usual likes of Sniper, Support, Assault, etc. Every time they rank up you’ll get to choose what ability they gain, and the customization doesn’t stop there. As you kill more and more aliens and clear more and more levels, the threat constantly escalates, and at an alarming degree, creating an ever-present sense of urgency in the decisions you make. As such, you’ll have to decide what you want to put your scientists to work on in order to progress in the proper manner. Do you want to build a containment chamber and interrogate one of the aliens to figure out where they’re getting their orders from? Or maybe you want to pick apart some of their weapons and armor to better outfit your soldiers with new equipment from your engineers? Or perhaps you’d better outfit your interceptors with better tech to better track and take down UFOs? Or do you want to invest in satellite coverage to decrease panic across various countries?

Each of these decisions has huge impacts down the line, which means that the first time you play XCOM, you’re pretty much going to fail. I focused too much on making my soldiers kickass, so when push came to shove I had no satellite coverage or worthwhile interceptor capabilities, and countries dropped out of the program en masse, dooming me to failure. You have to walk a fine line, and there’s never enough time to explore every option. That’s part of what makes XCOM feel so great, as though there’s an actual, real alien threat and you’re using limited resources and funds to push them back. You’ll need to make a lot of sacrifices and touch choices, and by the end you’ll never be totally invested in any one aspect of improving your organization, but rather a jack-of-all-trades, of sorts. And it takes a long time before you’ll learn what to spend your money and time on, what to put off ’til later, and what to pass on entirely.


XCOM is definitely one of the most difficult, nerve-wracking, anxiety-inducing games I’ve ever played. But at its core is one of the best and most complex tactical strategy games I’ve seen, and its metagame of resource allocation and crisis management never fails to be gripping and nail-biting. If you’ve ever wanted to know what it feels like to be Jeff Goldblum (and honestly, who hasn’t?) from Independence Day, XCOM is the ticket. There’ll be hours and hours for you to … take ’em … take ’em out, take ’em down … do your … do your stuff.


Game of the Year #9: inFamous Second Son

I waited for Second Son for several months, given that it was one of the few worthwhile PS4 games within the console’s launch window. Luckily, it was worth the wait, and exceeded my expectations in many ways. As one of the first next-gen games I experienced, it definitely had a lot to prove, and for the most part it showed what the PS4 was capable of. While it suffered from some questionable design choices and a generally mediocre story, Second Son was still a blast to play and one of my favorite games of 2014.

5477_infamous-second-son-prevMy review.

Game of the Year #10- Mario Kart 8

Like many, Nintendo’s E3 showing seduced me into buying a Wii U. And, like many, I’m sure you were very disturbed by my word choice in the previous sentence. This was one of the first games I played on my new Wii U this year, and it remains one of my favorites on the console. The primary elements of Mario Kart 8 remain largely the same as the primary elements of any Mario Kart game, but there are a few additions that make it stand out as probably the best entry in the series to date.

mk8 logoMK8 adds, first and foremost, a new element to each track: zero-G sections. Basically, at given points in each track (well, almost all of them) the track will become completely vertical, corkscrew, or go a myriad of other mind-screwing directions. This is pulled off surprisingly well, as the camera angles always adjust themselves accordingly to allow you to see where the hell you’re going, which is important, and it also changes the gameplay in more ways than you’d expect. Perhaps most significantly, when driving in zero-G sections, colliding with another player won’t halt either of you or cause you to spin out, but it actually gives both of you a speed boost. This can be used not only for your benefit, but, if timed properly, can be used to send another player off the edge of the track.

mk8 screenshot1That leads me to the other area of improvement, which is the overall speed of the game. Even when playing on 50cc, the slowest and arguably easiest mode, MK8 always feels fast and tight. When you fall off, Lakitu brings you back much more quickly than in any other game, and often places you in such a way that you can still continue without losing too much ground. Load times are fast, and even with four players there’s not any slowdown noticeable. It also runs at 60FPS even with two players, and with more than two it drops to 30, which is still pretty damn good. MK8, being the first series entry on the Wii U, looks amazingly good, and there’s a surprising amount of detail in the models and environments that make it really easy to see everything that’s going on at a glance.

mk8 screenshot2Really, there’s nothing that MK8 does wrong except the online, which, without any sort of chat mechanism or other method of communication, feels sort of empty. Even when playing alone, it’s preferable to play alone with computer opponents over online opponents, if only because you have to wait less. There’s just not really anything beneficial about playing with real players who may as well not be real players. However; that’s really the only area in which MK8 falls short. That and the character roster, which is stuffed with more fluff than Winnie-the-Pooh’s backside. Seriously, every single one of the Koopalings? Baby versions of 5 different characters? What the hell’s a Pink Gold Peach? That said, most of the characters are still playable, and I guess they tried to add some variety, but a Super Smash Bros. roster this is not. That said, there are a lot of different tracks, and a lot of kart customization to unlock, so the content’s not too much of an issue. The couch multiplayer is great, the game looks and sounds spectacular, and, really, it’s a Mario Kart game. It’s pretty much what you’d expect it to be, and it was one of my favorite games of 2014.


Top Ten Games of the Year COMING SOON!






Hello? Anyone here? Is this thing on?

‘Hoy, small fry! It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Yes, you’re correct. I’m back, and better than ever (because, let’s be honest, my writing can’t get much worse). It’s my New Year’s Resolution for 2015 to finally kick this old thing back into gear, and I’m starting it now with my games of the year. This time, it’s going to be a little different. Since I’ve been so incredibly inactive this year, almost all of the games on this list are things I’ve yet to review. So, every post until December 31 is going to be a mini-review of the game in question, counting down my favorite games of 2014. It’ll be a lot of work for me, and a lot of work for you, too, as I imagine reading any of the drivel I spout must be, but it’ll be worth it. Hopefully.

Stay tuned, kiddos. It’s about to get real.

Album Review – Mandatory Fun by “Weird Al” Yankovic

I know this isn’t the usual MAASOO fare (‘usual’ being an arbitrary term since I don’t post nearly as often as I should), but I felt like writing it and I have nowhere else to put it. So deal with it.

It’s gotten to the point where pretty much everybody has heard of Al Yankovic, or at least knows a few of his more popular songs. Being the fan of comedy that I am, and having the general disdain for pop music that I do, I’ve grown up enjoying his music immensely. His new album dropped yesterday, and the TL;DR version of this review is essentially that you should probably go buy it if you like funny things. Or music. Or life itself. I’m gonna do a track-by-track review of it because I can’t think of any other way to write a review of a CD.

MandatoryFunThe opening track, Handy, is actually one of the weakest for me, although I realize that might be simply because, until this point, I’ve never heard of someone called “Iggy Azalea” or her song Fancy, of which this is a parody. The song is catchy enough, and has enough of Al’s trademark sense of humor to keep one’s interest, but I get the feeling that those who know the source material will get more enjoyment out of it. In the past, I’ve really enjoyed Yankovic’s better parodies (Gump and Amish Paradise come to mind) without knowing the original tunes, so Handy might not be his best work.

The next song, Lame Claim to Fame, is a style parody of Southern Culture on the Skids (again, a band I’ve never heard of) and is about pretty much what the title makes you think it’d be about. Whether it’s sharing a public restroom with Jonah Hill, or buying a used car from Cuba Gooding, Jr.’s uncle, this guy’s got a pretty lame claim to fame. And it’s pretty hilarious.

Foil is another parody, this time of Lorde’s Royals, which I have actually heard. This one really showcases Yankovic’s musicianship in his ability to create a sound almost identical to the original while at the same time cleverly using rhymes and similar-sounding words to pull off a hilarious parody, this time about the numerous uses of aluminum foil.

Sports Song is another one that’s just decent, this time a style parody of generic college sports team fight songs. The lyrics, while at times difficult to discern amidst the various marching band instruments, essentially amount to “we’re good and you suck”, which is of course hilarious to me as one who in general disdains fight songs. And sports in general, for that matter.

Word Crimes is one of the best tunes on the album, a spot-on parody of Robin Thicke’s hit from last summer, Blurred Lines, which became famous for being one of the most douchey songs ever, with an even more douchey music video to go along with it. Yankovic’s take? Naturally, it’s about the intricacies of proper grammar usage and the annoyances that come about when one decides to stupidly split an infinitive. Hilarity ensues, as is to be expected.

My Own Eyes is a style parody of Dave Grohl’s other band, and illustrates a plight to which any of us who share a bathroom with our sisters can relate – the need to ‘unsee’ anything and everything that your poor eyes have been laid upon. A myriad of hilariously vile images are put forth (two drag queens shoving crackers up each others’ noses), in addition to a few that are just plain silly (an old man dying of Bieber fever), and they’re all backed up by some great alternative rock that proves, once again, that Al Yankovic’s band is the greatest cover band on earth.

NOW That’s What I Call Polka! is the song I was most excited to hear, and it did not disappoint. NOW is this album’s take on Yankovic’s signature polka medley in which he takes the biggest hits of the past few years and puts them to an accordion- and horn-filled polka romp. With songs that even I couldn’t avoid hearing, like Pumped Up Kicks and Somebody That I Used to Know, intermixed with some of the more goofy hits of late, such as Thrift Shop (with “this is super awesome” replacing Macklemore’s less family friendly lyrics), Call Me Maybe, and, of course, Gangnam Style, NOW is one of the best polka medleys to date.

Mission Statement is probably my least favorite on the album, though again most likely because I’m unfamiliar with the source material. I’ve only heard a handful of Crosby, Stills, Nash, [& Young] songs (Our House comes to mind), so hearing Yankovic parody their style largely goes over my head. The song does have some funny lyrics, chock-full of business buzzwords like ‘synergy’ and ‘globalization’, but it’s lacking that signature Yankovic charm that makes me love some of his other style parodies.

My least favorite track is followed by the one I like the most, Inactive, a shamelessly hilarious parody of a song I can’t stand, Radioactive, by a band I can’t stand, Imagine Dragons. Inactive depicts a terminally lazy young man who finds himself inseparable from his sofa and covered in Cheeto dust. Naturally, Yankovic abuses synthesizers, voice modulators and filters, and a myriad of unnameable electronic instruments to the point of it hardly sounding like music – just like Imagine Dragons does. Only this time, it’s funny, and doesn’t make me want to wear earplugs made of barbed wire. Kudos, Al.

First World Problems is a musical representation of the popular internet meme, and rattles off a whole bunch of them (‘my maid is cleaning the bathroom, so I can’t take a shower’) in a style parody of The Pixies. It’s great.

Tacky is a delightful parody of Pharrell Williams’ adult version of If You’re Happy and You Know it Clap Your Hands. In it, Al describes numerous tacky behaviors such as Instagramming every meal you eat, having a YOLO license plate, and using Comic Sans on your resume (yes, mom, that font is tacky). The music video is equally hilarious, featuring some hilarious comedians, and also Aisha Tyler.

The last track, Jackson Park Express, is a 9-minute-long style parody of Cat Stevens the depicts a man making eye contact with a girl on the bus, and naturally imagining the rest of their lives together through a totally one-sided conversation he believes she’s having with him with her facial expressions. It’s damn funny.

Overally, “Weird Al” Yankovic is still “Weird Al” Yankovic. Some of the songs, as usual, were misses for me because I didn’t know the original material, but there’s a lot of enjoyable meat here that a fan of any age can enjoy (seriously, he put a CSN parody on the same album as a Robin Thicke parody). It’s great fun, as the album’s title suggests, and I look forward to anything he puts out in the future.