Hard as it may be to imagine, but there are certain things in this world more grating and ubiquitous than Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines”: Persistent spelling and grammar errors. Fittingly, “Weird Al” Yankovic has combined the two in “Word Crimes,” a send-up of Thicke’s 2013 hit that promotes proper punctuation and accurate verbiage, and calls out participle danglers, those who “do good” not “well” and anyone who uses numbers instead of letters, which is only acceptable if you’re seven — or named Prince.
So if you’re still uncertain about when to use “whom” or “who,” and whether you’re dealing with an “it’s” or an “its,” check out the clever, hashtag-filled “Word Crimes” video below. The only thing that could’ve made this better is if Yankovic had been able to enlist Kelsey Grammer Grammar.
Yankovic spoke about the new song during an appearance on The View Tuesday. “‘Word Crimes’ is about a year old. There were already about 10,000 parodies of [“Blurred Lines”] and they were all rapey,” he said. “And I thought nobody had done a song about grammar.”
When asked by one host if he wrote “Word Crimes” as a reaction to his 11-year-old daughter’s linguistic skills, “Weird Al” curtly replied, “No, my daughter is fairly literate. We raised her that way.”
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“Word Crimes” is the second of eight videos “Weird Al” will drop this week to celebrate the release of his new album, Mandatory Fun, which is out today. On Monday, he kicked off the festivities with “Tacky,” a take on Pharrell’s “Happy,” which rags on anyone who has ever live-tweeted a funeral, gotten a YOLO license plate or printed their résumé in Comic Sans. Yankovic enlisted a bunch of comedy friends for the excellent one-shot clip, including Jack Black, Margaret Cho, Aisha Tyler, Kristen Schaal and Modern Family‘s Eric Stonestreet, all of whom traipse through Los Angeles’ Palace Theatre in the best worst outfits you’ve ever seen.
In a new interview with Diffuser, Yankovic spoke about his “eight video” strategy, which was inspired by the fickle nature of viral video culture. “Things burn really quickly, things tend to go viral for a day, and I figure, ‘Well, ok, I’ll let each of my videos go viral for day,'” Yankovic said. “Nowadays everybody’s trying to figure out what works, and I’m not like every other artist. I’m a special case and there’s really no precedent. So I’m just trying to see what works and this seemed like a fun thing to try.”
You can check out the full interview below, in which “Weird Al” also talks about “First World Problems,” a style-parody of one of his favorite groups, The Pixies, and what makes those pastiche numbers different from his spins on specific songs. Mandatory Fun marks Weird Al’s final album under his current contract with RCA and also features send-ups of Lorde’s “Royals,” Imagine Dragons’ “Radioactive,” and Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy.”