Off the Deep End is the seventh studio album by "Weird Al" Yankovic, released in 1992, and his first to be self-produced after Rick Derringer produced all of his previous ones.
At the start of The Nineties, 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 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.
- "Smells Like Nirvana"note
- "Trigger Happy"
- "I Can't Watch This"note
- "Polka Your Eyes Out"
- "I Was Only Kidding"
- "The White Stuff"note
- "When I Was Your Age"
- "Taco Grande"note
- "Airline Amy"
- "The Plumbing Song"note
- "You Don't Love Me Anymore"
- "Bite Me"
Tropes like Nirvana:
- Affectionate Parody: "Smells Like Nirvana" is one to Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit", as it simply makes fun of the latter song's incomprehensible lyrics.
- Anti-Love Song: "I Was Only Kidding".
- As Long as It Sounds Foreign: The gibberish end lyrics of "Smells Like Nirvana", which segues from sounding like Japanese to Yiddish:Sayonara, sayonara,
- 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: "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.
- 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 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."
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: The last two lines on the bridge of "Airline Amy."Airline Amy, this is my new mission
Gonna get you in an upright locked position
- 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 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 twelveThen he'd get too tired and he'd make us whoop ourselvesThen he'd chop me into pieces and play frisbee with my brainAnd 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 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.
- Man on Fire: One runs around behind Al during the "Smells like Nirvana" video.
- Medley: "Polka Your Eyes Out". Songs featured, in order:
- "Cradle Of Love" by Billy Idol
- "Tom's Diner" by Suzanne Vega
- "Love Shack" by The B-52s
- "Clarinet Polka", a public domain song
- "Pump Up the Jam" by Technotronic
- "Losing My Religion" by R.E.M.
- "Unbelievable" by EMF
- "Do Me!" by Bell Biv DeVoe
- "Enter Sandman" by Metallica
- "The Humpty Dance" by Digital Underground
- "Cherry Pie" by Warrant
- "Miss You Much" by Janet Jackson
- "I Touch Myself" by Divinyls
- "Dr. Feelgood" by Mötley Crüe
- "Ice Ice Baby" by Vanilla Ice
- "Ear Booker Polka" by Al Yankovic
- 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 grillNow my scars are all healing, but my heart never will
- One-Woman Song: "Airline Amy".
- Only a Flesh Wound: From "Trigger Happy":Oh, I accidentally shot Daddy last night in the denI mistook him in the dark for a drug-crazed Nazi againNow why'd you have to get so mad?It's just a lousy flesh wound, DadYou 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.
- 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:
- 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: "Trigger Happy" has a couple.
- 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
- Cheech Marin in "Taco Grande".
- Tom Kenny as one of the announcers on "I Can't Watch This."
- Spoken Word in Music: "I Can't Watch This" contains samples of various TV commercial taglines in the breakdowns.
- 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!:
- Discussing "The Plumbing Song" which parodies Milli Vanilli's "Girl You Know It's True" and "Baby Don't Forget My Number", Al called his joking on the infamous duo "redundant" in the wake of their 1990 Grammy Awards lip-syncing scandal. He went on to confirm that he did, in fact, sing his song himself.
- I Cant Watch This is a full list of these about TV shows and personalities, including:
- 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...: The name of the track on this album, where Al sings just that line in the chorus.
- 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.