It only took a few decades, but the master of song parodies has finally mastered the weekly album charts, and in characteristically unconventional style. “Weird Al” Yankovic‘s Mandatory Fun, which we called “probably the only album worth caring about” on its July 15 release date, has entered the Billboard 200 albums chart at No. 1, according to the accordionist himself. It’s the first chart-topping album for Yankovic in a career of pop send-ups that dates to the ’70s.
Mandatory Fun reached the chart catbird seat after “Weird Al” took the unusual step of sharing eight videos from the album in just eight days. That includes parodies of Robin Thicke (“Word Crimes”), Pharrell (“Tacky”), Lorde (“Foil”) and other fixtures in the contemporary pop firmament. As the New York Daily News points out, the spoofster extraordinaire waged his shock-and-haha video campaign without funding from his record label, instead convincing websites like Funny or Die, Yahoo and College Humor to provide the money.
“If you’d told me 30 years ago this would happen, I never would’ve believed it,” the “Eat It” and “My Bologna” singer said on Twitter. “If you’d told me 2 WEEKS ago, I never would’ve believed it.” He added: “I’m so pleased everybody is enjoying the album, and I’m enormously grateful for everyone’s support. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU.”
According to Nielsen SoundScan, Yankovic’s latest sold 104,000 copies, enough to beat out Jason Mraz, who had the No. 2 album with Yes!. By comparison, Yankovic’s prior album, 2011′s Alpocalypse, had first-week sales of 44,000. Though “Weird Al” has never before held the No. 1 album, the Grammy-winning comic already has the commercial track record of an ostensibly serious pop star, with six platinum records and four gold.
Mandatory Fun is the first comedy album at No. 1 since Allan Sherman’s My Son, the Nut way back in 1963, according to Billboard. It could be another long while before someone achieves the feat again, considering “Weird Al” has hinted he might give up on LPs. “I hate to draw lines in the sand and say this is absolutely the last album, but it sure looks that way,” he recently told the AP.
He continued: “It’s the end of my record deal. I’ve been under contract since 1982 and I just kind of feel like especially with the kind of music that I do, the album format isn’t the best way to deliver that music… I’m going to try to jump on new hits and new trends as soon as I can (with singles) and try to be a little bit more competitive with everybody else in the world on YouTube.”
Check out Wondering Sound contributor Maura Johnston’s review of Mandatory Fun, and watch the “Word Crimes” video below.