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Music / Off the Deep End

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Here we are now, we're Nirvana!

"Now I'm mumblin', and I'm screamin'
And I don't know what I'm singin'
Crank the volume, ears are bleedin'
I still don't know what I'm singin'
We're so loud and incoherent
Boy, this oughta bug your parents!"
"Smells Like Nirvana"

Off the Deep End is the seventh studio album by "Weird Al" Yankovic, released in 1992 through Scotti Bros. Records, and his first to be self-produced after Rick Derringer produced all of his previous ones.

At the start of The '90s, Weird Al's career was in a rut. His 1989 film UHF bombed due to its poor choice of release date, the associated soundtrack & studio album was mostly ignored, Michael Jackson declined permission for Al to parody his recent hit "Black or White" as "Snack All Night" (due to Jackson feeling that the song's message of race relations in America would be trivialized by the parody), and the public was generally starting to move away from Al, who was seeming more and more like a relic of The '80s. It seemed more than likely that Al was over as an artist, but the man was determined to prove he could keep his head above water in the new decade.

Enter an obscure Seattle-based band called Nirvana, who decided to release their second album in 1991. The album's lead single, "Smells Like Teen Spirit", rapidly shot up the charts, catapulted the band and the general grunge scene into mainstream popularity, and rapidly instigated the cultural genesis of the new decade. Having wanted to parody Nirvana for a while but being concerned about their initial obscurity, Al saw "Smells Like Teen Spirit" as his chance. Al managed to obtain permission from Kurt Cobain to parody the song as "Smells Like Nirvana", and with that, found his career rapidly careening back on track.

Off the Deep End spawned three singles: "Smells Like Nirvana", "You Don't Love Me Anymore", and "Taco Grande". The album was a commercial success, peaking at No. 17 on the Billboard charts; its release just a few months after Nevermind's displacing of Jackson's Dangerous as the No. 1 album certainly helped.


  1. "Smells Like Nirvana" (3:45)note 
  2. "Trigger Happy" (3:47)
  3. "I Can't Watch This" (3:31)note 
  4. "Polka Your Eyes Out" (3:50)
  5. "I Was Only Kidding" (3:30)
  6. "The White Stuff" (2:43)note 
  7. "When I Was Your Age" (4:35)
  8. "Taco Grande" (3:47)note 
  9. "Airline Amy" (3:50)
  10. "The Plumbing Song" (4:06)note 
  11. "You Don't Love Me Anymore" (4:01)
  12. "Bite Me" (0:06)note 

Tropes Like Nirvana:

  • Affectionate Parody:
    • "Smells Like Nirvana" is a parody of Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit", and makes fun of the latter song's Indecipherable Lyrics.
    • The album's cover art is one to Nevermind, the album which "Smells Like Teen Spirit" is the opening track of.
  • Anti-Love Song: "I Was Only Kidding".
  • An Arm and a Leg: During a mosh in "Smells Like Nirvana", a guy tears somebody's arm off and starts swinging it around.
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: The gibberish end lyrics of "Smells Like Nirvana", which segues from sounding like Japanese to Yiddish:
    Sayonara, sayonara,
    Ayonawa, odinawa,
    Odinaya, yodinaya,
    Yaddayadda, yaaahyaaah,
  • Bilingual Bonus: "Taco Grande", much like the song it parodies, is filled with Gratuitous Spanish. While Al's simple phrases are mostly things about foods he wants and paying for them, Cheech Marin's cameo in the bridge is a lengthy recommendation and description of a particularly hot dish and the side effects of eating it, ending by asking if the stupid customer can understand what he's saying.note 
  • Black Comedy: "You Don't Love Me Anymore" is a ballad about all the ways his girlfriend has tried to kill him.
  • Break-Up Song: Mercilessly parodied in "You Don't Love Me Anymore".
  • The Cameo: Robert Goulet plays piano in the video for "You Don't Love Me Anymore".
  • Camera Abuse: Al licks the camera in the video for "Smells Like Nirvana".
  • Careful with That Axe: "Bite Me" is eight seconds of Al screaming bloody murder following 10 minutes of silence.
  • Dead Sparks: "You Don't Love Me Anymore" hilariously takes it up to eleven when the girl in the song gets with everyone on the local hockey team, tells her friends that the protagonist in the song is the Antichrist, and then she starts trying to kill him on multiple occasions.
    Oh, why did you disconnect the brakes on my car?
    That kind of thing is hard to ignore
    Got a funny feeling you don't love me anymore
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The video for "You Don't Love Me Anymore", which in itself parodies the one for Extreme's "More Than Words".
  • D.I.Y. Disaster: "The Plumbing Song".
    When I flush the john, it turns the shower on!
  • The Dog Bites Back: The end of "I Was Only Kidding".
  • Even the Subtitler Is Stumped: The music video for "Smells Like Nirvana," in one hilarious moment:
    It's hard to bargle nawdle zouss???
    With all these marbles in my mouth
    • And according to the insert for the CD, those are the actual lyrics.
  • Face on the Cover: "Weird Al" in the swimming pool, parodying the cover of Nirvana's album Nevermind. Amusingly, Al stated in the biography Weird Al: The Book that he intended the cover to show him wearing brightly colored swim trunks (you can see a sliver of them on his right leg), but the photo was taken at an angle that made him appear naked. He decided to just roll with it.
  • Fan Disservice: Actually wearing swim trunks or not, Weird Al is arguably the last person anyone would want to see naked on an album cover.
  • Food Songs Are Funny: "The White Stuff" (talking about Oreo cookies) and "Taco Grande".
  • Funny Background Event: The basketball players and the Man on Fire while Al gargles the solo in the video for "Smells like Nirvana."
  • Greens Precede Sweets: Inverted in "When I Was Your Age":
    Every night for dinner, we had a big old chunk of dirt
    If we were really good, we didn't get dessert
  • Gun Nut: "Trigger Happy".
  • Hidden Track: Done as a prank on absent-minded listeners who'd forget to turn their CD players off after the last song. After "You Don't Love Me Any More," there's about ten minutes of silence followed by eleven seconds of cacophonous noise and screaming entitled "Bite Me."
  • Hilariously Abusive Childhood: "When I Was Your Age" has the singer outlining really ridiculous things that happened to him in his childhood.
    Dad would whoop us every night till a quarter after twelve
    Then he'd get too tired and he'd make us whoop ourselves
    Then he'd chop me into pieces and play frisbee with my brain
    And let me tell ya, Junior, you never heard me complain
  • In the Style of:
  • Jump Scare: Al has stated that "Bite Me" was made specifically for this effect on the poor people that forgot to turn off their CD players.
  • "Just Joking" Justification: "I Was Only Kidding".
  • Lobotomy: What Al says would improve the appeal of HBO, the Playboy Network, Showtime, and MTV in "I Can't Watch This".
  • Love Martyr: "You Don't Love Me Anymore" takes this trope to extremes.
  • Lyrical Cold Open: "I Can't Watch This".
  • Lyrical Dissonance: "Trigger Happy" is a cheery Beach Boys-type song about gun accidents.
  • Medley: "Polka Your Eyes Out". Songs featured, in order:
  • Miniscule Rocking: The Hidden Track, "Bite Me," is only 6 seconds long.
  • Mood Whiplash: "You Don't Love Me Anymore" is a humorous breakup song but it has this pair of lines, equivalent to a punch in the gut:
    You slammed my face down on the barbecue grill
    Now my scars are all healing, but my heart never will
  • NOT!: Done in "I Was Only Kidding" as a Shout-Out to Wayne's World:
    I was only kidding
    I really love you, not!
  • Off with His Head!: A crowd member in "Smells Like Nirvana" tears the head off a guy behind him and throws it onto the stage.
  • One-Woman Song: "Airline Amy".
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Referenced in Trigger Happy":
    Oh, I accidentally shot Daddy last night in the den
    I mistook him in the dark for a drug-crazed Nazi again
    Now why'd you have to get so mad?
    It was just a lousy flesh wound, Dad
    You know I'm trigger happy, trigger happy every day
  • Parody Assistance: The "Smells Like Nirvana" video actually had some of the actors from the original "Smells Like Teen Spirit" video, including the janitor.
  • Poe's Law: At least one faction of gun nuts takes "Trigger Happy" literally.
  • Pun: On "I Can't Watch This," Al says he want to lynch the doughnut-eating freaks on Twin Peaks.
  • Pun-Based Title: "Polka Your Eyes Out."note 
  • Reckless Gun Usage: The singer in "Trigger Happy" accidentally shoots both his father and his cat.
  • Record Producer: The first album Al self-produced.
  • Rockers Smash Guitars:
    • Exaggerated and Parodied at the end of the "Smells like Nirvana" video. Al smashes his guitar, the audience smashes plates on a guy's head and then Al pushes a plunge-detonator to demolish a building.
    • The video for "You Don't Love Me Anymore" — which is a sad, acoustic ballad — ends with Al (who is not holding an instrument) being suddenly overcome by the dejection expressed in the song, at which point he violently wrests the acoustic guitar from his guitarist's grasp, demolishes it thoroughly against the floor, shoots a disgusted look at the camera as if to say, "what are you looking at?", and finally drags his feet off the set.
  • Sexy Stewardess: "Airline Amy".
  • Shout-Out:
  • Something Something Leonard Bernstein: "Smells Like Nirvana" is all about how hard the lyrics of "Smells Like Teen Spirit" are to decipher. The only lyrics that match the original's are "never mind" in the final verse.
  • Special Guest:
  • Spoken Word in Music: "I Can't Watch This" contains samples of various TV commercial taglines in the breakdowns.
  • Stock Footage: The "Smells Like Nirvana" video uses a brief stock clip of a building being imploded after Al pushes a plunge-detonator.
  • Subliminal Seduction: "Bite Me", which is probably the weirdest example ever. If you slow it down 800% (300% in Sound Recorder), it has a segment of a different song in it.
  • Take That!:
  • Viewers Are Morons: "I Can't Watch This" seems to suggest this with the then-current state of TV programming at the time of the song's release.
  • When I Was Your Age...: "When I Was Your Age", obviously. The song's narrator tells young children how his childhood was much harder than theirs:
    Well, nobody ever drove me to school when it was ninety degrees below
    We had to walk butt naked through forty miles of snow
    Worked in the coal mine twenty two hours a day for just half a cent
    Had to sell my internal organs just to pay the rent
    When I was your age
  • Word Salad Lyrics: "Smells Like Nirvana" is all about how the singer doesn't even know what the words are, but that's OK since it's a Nirvana song.


Video Example(s):


"Smells Like Nirvana"

The music video for "Smells Like Nirvana", where the singer discusses how nobody can understand his lyrics.

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Example of:

Main / EvenTheSubtitlerIsStumped

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