Musical verisimilitude is part of what Yankovic provides—it’s a form of comfort that’s slightly different from comedy. With his producers and musicians, Yankovic comes up with songs that can function, in a pinch, as stand-ins for the original. He was as good at re-creating Jackson and Quincy Jones’s dance-rock production (itself a slightly out-of-touch reading of the rock music of the era) as he is at mimicking the minimal beat made by the Invisible Men and the Arcade for Azalea’s “Fancy.” For those who feel ashamed to play a chart hit, or possibly even hate the chart hit, Yankovic offers an opportunity to have your cake and eat it. None of these parodies would work with weak songs; he chooses ones with strong melodies and distinct personalities. If you feel out of your element listening to a hip-hop song about flying around the world and cleaning out minibars, you can still enjoy the shape of Azalea’s song by listening to “Handy.” You’re probably not going to do this publicly if you’re over the age of ten, but then no song will sell this many copies in one week to pre-teens alone. There are many people listening to Weird Al on headphones at work, which makes sense, because Yankovic is never disrespectful of the music; what he’s sending up is the idea that he would ever be cool enough to live in the world the music came from.
Sasha Frere-Jones, “Weirdly Popular”, The New Yorker (11 & 18 August 2014), 93.