He’s not in the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame (yet), but musical parodist extraordinaire “Weird Al” Yankovic can now boast a high-end, archival-quality box set on a top reissue label. Sony Music’s Legacy Recordings division, whose product line includes a 36-disc set of vintage Bob Dylan live recordings, will release Squeeze Box: The Complete Recordings Of “Weird Al” Yankovic in the fall of 2017. Available on both CD and vinyl and housed in a replica of Yankovic’s accordion, the set will include all 14 of Yankovic’s studio albums, ranging from his rough-hewn 1983 debut LP to 2014’s chart-topping Mandatory Fun. Fans can pre-order the collection through a direct-to-fans platform called Pledge Music.
All 14 albums have been newly remastered, and six of them are making their vinyl debut. True fanatics may note that Yankovic’s obscure 1988 children’s album Peter And The Wolf, a collaboration with electronic musician Wendy Carlos, is not included. But Squeeze Box will contain a bonus disc entitled Medium Rarities containing non-album tracks. Remember that Crash Test Dummies spoof he did in 1994, for instance?
Fancy packaging and spiffed-up sonics aside, Squeeze Box: The Complete Recordings could be a great opportunity to reassess Yankovic’s career. Even before cutting that 1983 debut, he was making crude, low-fi home recordings for radio’s The Dr. Demento Show. Since then,Yankovic has satirized three decades’ worth of pop trends, often outlasting the artists he has parodied. Roughly half of Yankovic’s catalog consists of original songs, including such deep cuts as “One More Minute,” “Trigger Happy,” “Genius In France,” and “Skipper Dan.” And he’s matured musically over the course of his career, too. Compare the nasal, growly vocals and rinky-dink arrangements on his first album with the relative sophistication of a latter-day track like “Pancreas.” This is what box sets like this are for.