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Squeeze Box reviews

Postby Elvis » Thu Nov 16, 2017 6:50 pm

This is the topic to post your reviews on "Squeeze Box" including "Medium Rarities", new/better sounding songs, packaging, and anything else related to the box set that you care to review.

I'll start. Spoilers obviously, but I won't use tags as I'll assume everyone reading this either has the set or want to know details. I was going to wait until I listened to everything, but as I'm listening to one album at a time multiple times over before moving onto the next, that might take a while, so I will post things as I review them, and edit this post as I have more to say.

Packaging: Here are my pictures on Facebook. I will update that album as I get the other versions (vinyl, test pressing). It comes in a nice box with custom Styrofoam insert, so it will be easy to store if you choose not to display it for some reason. The accordion is spot on realistic looking! A few people who didn't know it was a box set thought it was a real accordion. It is "Yankovic" brand and a emblem that says "WAY Moby". The booklet is strapped onto the back, and there are snaps which you can undo to leave it open or keep it closed. Each fold in the bellows holds a different album. For the CD version it's full size artwork, folded over and glued, with the CD in a pocket on the back. The fronts are the album covers and the backs are pretty much the album backs though a few elements were moved around here and there to make room for the CDs. The artwork looks like it was designed so it can be reused for the vinyl. Where the pocket is could be cut out to show the label. The only minor complaint is that the artwork on the back of "Medium Rarities" is upside down! :up: Nice touch with each song being listed on a deli number tab though! Each CD is a different bright color.

Booklet: 124 page full color booklet loaded with tons of pictures! There's not too much text, a foreword by Al and a sentence or two on each of the songs on "Medium Rarities" and some thanks and photo credits. There's a chapter for each album and it lists basic info about each song, when and where it was recorded, who the musicians were, etc. -- basically info that what was or should have been in the liner notes on the original . Tedious to read, but great for reference. The pictures are grouped by album, and then there's a free-for-all section at the end. The focus is mostly insider and behind the scenes photos, which is really nice as most of them were new to me, but on the later albums there are some concert shots thrown in. I already told a couple of close personal friends with photos that their name appears in the booklet, but I'll let the others discover for themselves! Quite a few on this forum! Excited to put some names to the pictures, so please share which photos are yours!

Test pressing set: I'm not sure what I was expecting but they are kind of boring actually. White labels in plain paper white sleeves and that's it. Each one has a sticker on it telling which album is which and some numeric code underneath the name. Each album is also signed by Al, which is nice. I guess I was just expecting more, like a COA or something. It comes in a plain white box, with "Test Pressing" printed on it. It's supposed to be numbered (limited to 27) but I can't find a number anywhere. The albums were shipped in bubble wrap, so the white sleeves all got bent. On top of that I only got 14 albums, the missing album being "Medium Rarities". Also the booklet was missing. I've emailed customer support about the issues, but haven't heard back yet. :(

T-shirt: As far as Al shirts go, this one isn't too bad. The design looks better on the shirt than on paper. It's a baseball style shirt, which I don't really like to wear, but I probably will anyway. Hopefully they offer the design on regular t-shirts at some point.

Magnetic Dress Up: It's okay. The magnet looks to be pretty thick so I'm not sure how well it would layer. Also there appears to a lot of white space around each cut-out, which means your mix-and-match Al's will look stupid. Limited mix-and-match options as well. There was a lot of leftover white space they could have utilized to fit a few more outfits or props in, or at least a second set of pants! The one pair of pants they provide is intended to be re-used for the AP and SLN outfits, but since the number of Al heads is equal to the number of shirts/outfits, the comfortable thing to do is make as many Al's as possible, which means one of them doesn't have any legs!

Socks: These are actually really cool! I wish they would offer them separately for purchase. I'd buy one pair for every day of the week! Al's face is on the toe area. The polka dots are colorful and they should match any outfit. There's a subtle joke on the cardboard holding them together -- "Greatest Knits I and II" -- Nice! Whoever's doing merchandise for the upcoming tour, take note! We want socks!

Turntable mat: The mat is colorful and looks like it would be fun to spin. It's got a bunch of polka dots and dancing Al's on it. I need to dust off the record player and see how it spins.

Felt Pennant: It's felt and it's a pennant. Not too much more to say about it. Would make a nice wall hanging.

Medium Rarities: The first thing I imported into my music collection was this CD. I-tunes didn't recognize the CD so I had to manually enter all the details. Not a big deal since I usually customize the info for any CD I import anyway as I have a specific naming convention I like to use, so only a minor inconvenience for me, but I guess that could be annoying to some. I really hope my car recognizes it - haven't tried yet -- as that's a pain to update each track name manually in the car! First song I put on was "Beat On The Brat" and fell in love instantly! I know the pool of Al's cover songs is small, but this is easily my favorite cover song he's done! So catchy and I find myself going back to listen to it over and over! "Happy Birthday (New Version)" was the second song I listened to and coincidentally my second favorite on the album! It's kind of funny that there are 4 released versions of "Happy Birthday" now. Al's like George Lucas with this song, he will just keep updating until he gets it exactly how he wants it! :lol: Not to take anything away from the other versions, but this is my favorite one! It's sounds more modern and current now. Not going to review every song as most of them aren't new to me, but a few standouts are "The Brain Song" and "Lousy Haircut" which I'm really happy to get a good copy of both. interesting I didn't know -- info from the booklet! -- "Lousy Haircut" isn't a direct parody and Jim did the arrangement on it! "Super Duper Party Pony" seems longer to me than what was in the episode but could just be me not remembering the episode well. Also I think "Dr. Demento Jingle" at 10 seconds is Al's shortest released song!

"Weird Al" Yankovic: After "Medium Rarities" I decided I would listen to the CDs in order, giving each album a few listens. I'm not an audiophile by any means. Of course I want the best sounding recording of any song in my collection, but I didn't necessarily buy the box set for that reason. But WOW!, to my untrained ear, does this album sound AMAZING! Whoever took the time to update these songs gets huge kudos from me if I ever meet them! I didn't know I needed better sounding songs until I heard them! Now I'm afraid I can never listen to the original albums again! The original first album is so raw and different than the others, but the updated album sounds so much more clean! I'm not quite sure how to explain it, but it just works so much better now! A few standouts to me were "Gotta Boogie", "The Check's In The Mail", and "I'll Be Mellow When I'm Dead".

"Weird Al" Yankovic In 3-D: Listening to these albums is like listening to all new songs, but all new songs that I know the words and music to. You just can't help hearing more with the new updated sound. They are really getting me in the mood for the new tour! "Midnight Star" sounds amazing, I think I'm falling in love with this song. I can't wait to hear it done live on the new tour! I can't help singing along to the last four songs on the album ("King Of Suede", "That Boy Could Dance", "Theme From Rocky XIII", and "Nature Trail To Hell"). The new sound gives "That Boy Could Dance" a whole new appreciation, and "Nature Trail To Hell" stands out as maybe the best on the album. The piano note at the end just seems like it holds forever now. I also wonder who will be the first to record and leak "Satan Eats Cheez Whiz" in its HD glory!

Dare To Be Stupid: I've already commented how wonderful these albums sound compared to the originals so no need to again. "I Want A New Duck" (HD quacks!) and "Yoda" deserve to be mentioned from the first half of the album. And while the first half of the album is one of my all time favorite album sides (think cassettes here people!), I think the last half really benefitted the most from the remastering. "George Of The Jungle", "Slime Creatures From Outer Space", "This Is the Life" and "Cable TV" were most noticeable to me. A strong album to start with only made stronger by the remastering.

Polka Party!: Climbing up the corporate ladder....

11/22: Added review for bonus items. Vinyl arrived.

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Re: Squeeze Box reviews

Postby Sappho » Wed Nov 22, 2017 2:33 pm

I'm glad to know I'm not the only one whose Medium Rarities seems to be upside down. ^^ Just got it in a few minutes ago and I was so confused.

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Re: Squeeze Box reviews

Postby stardrop » Wed Nov 22, 2017 4:10 pm

Elvis wrote:"Super Duper Party Pony" seems longer to me than what was in the episode but could just be me not remembering the episode well.

Well, there was a MLP album(Pinkie Pie's Party Playlist) that contains "Super Duper Party Pony" - I assume Medium Rarities has that version.
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Re: Squeeze Box reviews

Postby 8-Track Mind » Sat Nov 25, 2017 12:35 am

I have to wait until Christmas to look at mine. Are the Poodle hat bonus songs included? I need those!
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Re: Squeeze Box reviews

Postby Stardraw123 » Sat Nov 25, 2017 11:23 pm

Just got the extra stuff for the platinum CD bundle! Well, I mean I got them 3 hours ago but I was so busy freaking out about them! :tacky: (and also busy having a cold...) Also I never really wrote a review for something before but I'll still give it a try so here's my review for the extra stuff for the platinum CD bundle. The socks feel so good and soft on the inside and I love how they're called Greatest Knits volume 1 & 2 on the tag thing for them. It's nice that they would just look like normal black socks with colorful polka dots on them if someone just took a quick look at them since al's face on the bottom would be covered by my shoe and the white part on the top that says his name would be covered by my pants so I could just wear them in public and not be embarrassed. The shirt is also nice and feels good to wear and it goes nice with the socks, I just hope I don't stain it or something since it's mostly white...I like the pennant a lot and I put it over the mandatory fun flag I got from the tour last year and they look nice together and I really like how the "Weird Al" is in a different and fancier font than Yankovic and isn't distracting to look at. And lastly, the magnet board. When I saw that it was included with the platinum CD bundle I was very excited because I had a small, square, purple white board on my wall near my bed that I haven't used in a while and I could finally put something on it that could decorate my room more, but I was afraid the magnets would be too big and I would have to keep the other pieces somewhere else. But luckily that wasn't the case and I can nicely organize the pieces on it without having to keep the bigger ones like the fat suit or the jedi robe somewhere else. Overall, everything is very nice and definitely worth the extra $65 in my opinion.
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Re: Squeeze Box reviews

Postby Yankomaniac » Sun Nov 26, 2017 12:05 am

Can someone post some of the new unseen photos from the albums and/or book?
What a racket they're makin', Jack, they keep me up at night playin' their electric guitars!!
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Re: Squeeze Box reviews

Postby Morimoto » Sun Nov 26, 2017 1:26 am

Also disappointed in the Test Pressing Set. I don’t need 14 signatures, I just wanted a signature and number on the box for display. And yeah, missing the album and book.
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Re: Squeeze Box reviews

Postby Big Spoon » Sun Nov 26, 2017 3:04 am

Just arrived home from Texas to find my Squeeze Box had arrived! Wow, it's fantastic.

Like Dave had said, the packaging is amazing. Currently planning on placing it on a shelf to the left of my desk (cleared some other stuff off of it to make room), but I might end up moving it to a different part of my room - still figuring out where best to display it.

Just got the basic set with the magnets, and excited to play around with those. I love the "Barn Building 101" book in the hands of Amish Al! Currently have it set up on the magnetic board with the Jedi robes and Kurt Cabain Al's head! Not sure where I'm gonna put them (my fridge isn't magnetic :(), but I'll find somewhere. But like Dave said, it's flawed. Not enough options and the magnets very think. I have a tough time getting the clothes to stick on Al's body. (But I'm sure some of the Al Gals wouldn't complain about this... :P)

First thing I did was read through the booklet, and I've gotta say - it's fantastic. Loved all the photos. Some I knew - the album artwork stuff and the images taken from TV shows, but there was a ton I didn't recognize. Loved that Al got to get The Food Album artwork in there. It used to freak me out as a kid (and made me upset to see Al dead), but now I love it - especially after hearing how it was Al's middle finger to his record label for making him release the album. It was great seeing all the ads and promotional materials for his concerts, especially the ones from "before my time." I never knew Al was on Amazing Stories! Somehow the knowledge of that TV show appearance slipped my mind. Granted, that show was before my time so to speak, but I've still seen a few episodes. And I know about a lot of his other early TV show appearances.
My only wish at all for this book is I loved Al's blurbs on the songs on Medium Rarities and would have loved that for the other albums, too. They were so fun to read! I'm not complaining at all - just feel it would have been a lot of fun to have that. Granted, it would have been a lot more work for Al on top of the tremendous amount he already put into this.

Next I popped in Medium Rarities and listened to Beat On The Brat and Happy Birthday. They both sound fantastic. it was fun hearing Al do a straight cover of a song! And then I loved hearing Al's updated take on Happy Birthday. I finally heard a lyric I had misheard every listen since I first heard the song on my 9th or 10th birthday! Had always heard "There's a punk in the alley and he's looking for a bite." :lol: This makes much more sense. Will give more thoughts on these songs when I review Medium Rarities down the road.

Said this elsewhere, but I'm going to review each album and not only say my thoughts on the song, but also what they are now vs. when I first heard it. Some will be pretty similar, but with other songs, yeah. My opinion has changed quite a bit. Also some funny lyrics that I misheard... or even a few that I misinterpreted in ways that looking back on, are pretty funny. And finally, thoughts on the remaster.

Will try and take my time with the album reviews, but we'll how fast they go. Hoping to make my Poodle Hat review coincide with... something... I'm going through in three and a half weeks, but we'll see.

Very excited to start listening to the albums!

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Re: Squeeze Box reviews

Postby Big Spoon » Mon Nov 27, 2017 2:12 am

"Weird Al" Yankovic

First off, can I just say how awesome it is to have the cover blown up to full size? :whoot: Because I loved looking at all the details as they were intended. Not on some small little, pathetic CD case. (Yeah, I had seen the album cover in larger formats before - both online and in Nathan Rabian's book - but still nothing big.) It was great seeing all the different details for each song. I also had never noticed the photo of Dr. Demento above Al's bed before!

Now onto the songs... First off, it's amazing how much more crisp and cleaner everything sounds! Wow - I have no idea how far these changes will continue throughout the albums but this sounds fantastic.
As for the reviews, I don't think I'll give songs x/10 rankings as that's just so arbitrary. Rather, just listing my thoughts.

Ricky - Fun track paying tribute to I Love Lucy. I like how it both references jokes on the show (I laughed at the "You always burn the roast and you drop the dishes, too/You iron my new shirt and you burn a hole right through!" line), while also crafting jokes of Al's own.
"Oh Ricky, what a pity don't you understand/That everyday's a rerun and the laughter's always canned" might be my favorite joke on the debut album.

Gotta Boogie - Oh, Gotta Boogie - a song I loved when I as a kid that by the time I was a preteen felt meh about. Let's face it - this song is really childish. I remember the first time I saw the track title I thought, "Haha, I know Al means boogie like dance, but I can't help but think of boogie as in booger!" then when Al first revealed that, no, in fact, boogie does refer to a booger laughing my ass off. Through the years, this song has fallen out of favorability with me, but I do still laugh at the two lines song by the women in the song. Something about the disgust in her voice when the first women says, "No, man, I don't want a boogie!" really tickles me.

I Love Rocky Road - It's funny - I had been hearing this song on Radio Disney for years, and didn't realize it was an Al song. It wasn't until I bought The Food Album at Tower Records and was listening to it on the drive home when it came on my dad's car's radio that it clicked. My dad told me that it was a parody of I Love Rock And Roll. I love the analogy of "ice cream junkies" that Al throws in here. The way the accordion pops in this new mix is fantastic.

Buckingham Blues - This was the the first song where the remaster really popped out at me. The mix here is fantastic. I never really got this song as a kid - but now that I'm older, the joke is hilarious! Only problem is out dated it feels after Princess Diana's untimely death.
As a kid, I thought the "Where'd you get them shoes?" line was just to be random, only later did I get that it was referring to her being the fashion leader of the aristocracy (another line that's really funny!) One fun thing is I never picked up on the "I got my mojo working" line before.

Happy Birthday - I remember it was my birthday, and my parents let me go to Tower Records to pick out a new Al CD. I excitedly picked up his debut album because of this track. I still remember my excitement in the car as Al and his band began to sing/ And yeah, it was dark, but I still laughed at it. I really like the remaster here. Was worried it would be masked by my just hearing the new version of it, but it didn't hurt my enjoyment at all. The remix here sounds great. It was my first time picking up on the crashing sounds during the musical interlude. Funnily enough, I still heard "bite" here. (See previous comments in my last post.)

Stop Draggin' My Car Around - This song was always on the "just okay" level for me and that hasn't really changed. Has some funny lines in it, but it has a bit of that "filler parody" feel to it that other songs farther down the road have. I remember when I was younger, I heard "Snaggletooth necklace," but I thought Al was referring to Snagglepuss. This really feels like the first of the "three disjointed but related" stories that Al would do many more times down the line, like with A Complicated Song or Why Does This Always Happen To Me?" I always wondered about the "The check's in the mail" line here. I know it's an expression outside of the world of Al, but did Al throw it in there at least partially in reference to the song of the same name he has on this album?

My Bologna - Okay, how can you not love this song as an Al fan? It holds so much history in the story of Al. It really isn't too terribly funny (I loved the "I always eat too much and throw up" line as a kid...) but it's still fantastic for how historic it is. And some of the joke do definitely still land. Plus, I love the whole idea of turning a song about pedophelia into a song about deli meat in and of itself hilarious.
For years, I heard, "Who's my little hungry one?" at the start of the song. It wasn't until I saw the correct lyric written down only within the past two years that I realized I was hearing it wrong.

The Check's In The Mail - Okay, this was a song that I didn't get for years. When I heard it originally, I didn't get it at all. So I asked my parents what the expression meant at they told me, but I still didn't quite find the song funny. For awhile I thought it was referring to a guy getting divorced, speaking to his soon to be ex-wife. No idea where that came from. But now, it's one of my favorites on the album! Some really genius stuff here, playing on slimy record execs (that from what I've seen also applies to 99.27% of the people in Hollywood.)

Another One Rides The Bus - Again, another classic piece in the history of Al. I always loved how Al decided to keep the original recording of this off the Dr. Demento show and put it on the CD. Really gave it a "raw" feeling. Plus, all the jokes really hit. My favorite line has to be the "I had to get off a couple miles ago, but I couldn't get to the door," with the bus picking up more at the next stop. The track sounds a ton better, which I wasn't sure there'd be able to be a difference at all with this being recorded live on the Dr. Demento show.
When I was younger, my dad would sing parodies of various songs and put our dog Banjo's name into them. One of (if not the) first he came up with, and would sing quite a bit, was "Banjo Bit The Bus."

I'll Be Mellow When I'm Dead - This is another song I didn't really like when I was younger, but love now! The bashing of the new age culture is hilarious. It's also pretty funny that Al bashes vegetarianism despite being one now.
I used to think the "Like, wow, man can you relate?" meant, "Can you explain what you mean by 'pushing up the daises'?", instead of "Can you relate to me on this?"

Such A Groovy Guy - The first word that comes to mind when I heard this song is "disjointed." The second verse, while funny, feels like it comes out of nowhere and in no way relates to the first and what I would call the premise of the song. Never really been a favorite of mine, gotta be honest.

Mr Frump In The Iron Lung - I always found the one sided friendship part of this song funny, and still to this day think Mr. Frump has no idea who Al is - he's just some bozo who comes and sits next to his iron lung everyday.
But I didn't fully get the song until I saw the video of Al preforming it at Cal Poly and understanding how he made the accordion sounds that I got the joke. In fact, I do feel that this song works best when performed live (or at least when one knows how that it's an accordion making those sounds..)
Speaking of which, it's amazing how much more iron lung-y it sounds on this remaster. I wasn't sure if it would be possible to pull that off, but I guess it was.

Overall thoughts - This album has a very special place in Al history as his first. A few of these songs are still major staples of Al's career, and most of them are hilarious. Only one really falls flat, in my opinion. Love hearing the updated sounds on the remaster. While not all of these songs are too funny, Al was still in college when he wrote most of these, and like wine, good comedy gets better with age.
Very excited to continue forward!
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Re: Squeeze Box reviews

Postby Big Spoon » Thu Nov 30, 2017 3:53 am

"Weird Al" Yankovic In 3-D

First off, love getting the images of Al and the band on the back of the sleeve, which weren't there on the CD. The corny 3D effect that Al goes for on the cover is fantastically hilarious.

Eat It - Seriously, what hasn't already been said about this song? It's amazing how the lead single on Al's second CD from way back in 1984 is still one of his strongest songs. It's the true essence of what makes a parody a parody - taking the original subject matter and not only altering it, but also commenting on it. Hell, I even used it as an example of parodies occurring in music when I wrote a paper on the parody genre of movie one semester in college. My favorite line is probably, "If it's getting cold, reheat it!" but there are so many to choose from. There's really nothing to say about this song that hasn't already been said, so instead, I'll leave you with this gif

Midnight Star - First off, this song just sounds amazing. Even before the remaster it sounded great, but here especially. Never picked up on the background singers echoing Al during the verses before! Lyrically, it's hysterical! My favorite line has always been the telephone service that lets you speak to the dead.
When I first heard this song, instead of "You can read it," I heard Chikorita. I thought it would be weird, even for Al, to sing about a Pokémon here. Then I saw that this song was from the 80's, and knew that, unless Al was a time traveler, I had probably misheard it. It wasn't until reading Ask Al that I learned the correct lyrics.

The Brady Bunch - Used to really like this song. Now... eh. It's a total list song without any jokes added and then it's the lyrics to the Brady Bunch theme. And don't get me wrong - singing other lyrics to a tune can be really funny. (I love Money For Nothing/Beverly Hillbillies) but here... it doesn't quite work as well.

Buy Me A Condo - So this was actually my favorite Al song for a period of time when I was a kid. I have no idea why. I didn't get it at all. I guess I liked the music a lot? I remember my mom one day showing me the Izod Lacoste t-shirt after hearing and loving the song, and I had never seen one before. I remember once I was listening to it with my babysitter, and she got excited upon learning that Al used to live in Jamaica! I tried to tell her it's just a song, but she didn't believe me. Al would never say something that isn't true in a song! Are you mad?!?
I really found myself finding a new love of it again upon this listen through. The reggae music sounds great, and the entire commentary of the Americanization those moving here from foreign countries is hilarious.

I Lost On Jeopardy - I don't have too much to say about this song, but I do really like it. It's come up ad nausea about how it's about the old version of Jeopardy vs. the Alex Trebek version.
Oh! One year my school as a "summer project" had a student be in charge of cooking a dinner with the family, and one of the courses in mine was Rice-A-Roni, which was 100% inspired by the mention in this song.

Polkas On 45 - This sounds AMAZING remastered! Even more so than the remaster on the Essential. Al does a terrific job of polkafying all the songs to a level that I don't think he was ever really able to hit until NOW That's What I Call Polka!
The highlight of the polka for me is either In In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida or Hey, Joe. :F

Mr. Popeil - Okay, this is one of those Al songs that I've never really liked. I'm really not a fan of the B-52's at all, so that doesn't really help. I actually Googled a few of the products this time. Had no idea all of these were real! Garden weasel, especially.
But yeah, definitely among my least favorite Al songs. Sorry!

King Of Suede - The mix here sounds fantastic. I can actually understand "Is my size up there?" Really got a new appreciation for this song - love the idea of a guy who's high and mighty about his fashion shop. (Will Waffle King grow on me, too?)

That Boy Can Dance - Yeah, never been a fan of this song. I'm sorry. It's pretty much one joke - "This guy is a loser" then - "But hey, he can dance!" The mix here sounds good, at least...

Theme From Rocky XIII - Always been a favorite of mine! Every line just slams it out of the park. Took me ages to get the "Ain't gonna fly now," line. The whole idea of Rocky going from beating up on the huge cow meat in the locker to beating up on liverwurst is great.

Nature Trail To Hell - While definitely not Al's funniest by a long shot, damn if it doesn't rock. This remaster really was the first time I was able to pick up on Bermuda's fantastic drum work. Love all the homages in here - Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies A Bleeding, Thriller, and A Day In The Life.
Took me ages to get the "6 o'clock news" line. I thought it was a joke as the 6 o'clock news was boring and the exact opposite of the movie, but now that I'm older and actually watch the news... yeah, plenty of this :killed: to be had.

Overall thoughts - This album has so many great tracks, but I've gotta be honest, Mr. Popeil and That Boy Can Dance really bring it down for me. I'm sorry, I know I shouldn't let them - but still. The high points on this album are amazing. Eat It and Nature Trail To Hell are two of my favorites in Al's catalogue. But the low points are the lowest of the low.
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