I’ve long been a fan of pop music parodies. Like a lot of people my love of pop music parodies started from Weird Al Yancovic, and ones similar to him, and my first exposure to YouTube was from clips of pop music parodies from Mad TV. Nowadays there are a lot of them out there in various forms, often made online from the start, and I think the best at the moment are from The Key of Awesome series, which is itself part of the Barely Political comedy website. The videos in The Key of Awesome are directed by Tom Small and written by comedian Mark Douglas. They are very funny and well observed. Often I actually like the songs they are spoofing, but they make some good points about the flaws they have, and they are very funny and enjoyable as a piece of entertainment in their own right.
Here are my top ten favourite pop music parodies they have done.
10) ‘Parody of Problem’
I like ‘Problem’, but it has plenty wrong with it, which is illustrated here. Ariana Grande oversinging, Big Sean’s whispering (in this video it’s because he is hungover and has laryngitis), and the parody of Iggy Azalea is pretty dead on. I don’t know why, but I found her “Yeah he do that… from time to time” especially funny. Tatiana Owens does the vocal impressions for both Ariana and Iggy, and she is brilliant at both. Should I admit that I thought Mark Douglas looked sort of hot dressed as Batman? Well, I guess I have done now.
9) ‘She Won’t Stop’
This was a time when I didn’t like the original song, as I always found Miley Cyrus’ ‘We Can’t Stop’ a bit try hard, which this parody sums up. “It’s my career I can do a shark jump” (followed by a jumping shark), “it’s my booty I can put it on stuff” (followed by a list of stuff she wants to put it on), and Billy Ray Cyrus turning up trying to cash-in on his daughter’s popularity. It also shows good casting, as Rachel McOwens looks a lot like Miley Cyrus. I think the sketch loses it’s way a bit towards the end when Miley and Billy Ray start arguing, but it has some funny moments.
8) ‘Pet Shop’
There’s only one joke to this parody of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis feat. Wanz – ‘Thrift Shop’, that they are singing about a Pet Shop rather than a Thrift Shop, but it is still a funny joke, and a good parody too as they have kept very close to the original song.
7) ‘Start A Mumford Band’
I don’t have anything against Mumford & Sons per se, but it was looking like a bit of a contagious epidemic after they got big, with every other band being like them or changing their sound to sound like them. Ironic really, as currently Mumford & Sons themselves sound a bit like Coldplay.
6) ‘Best Song Never’
The Key of Awesome did a few One Direction parodies, but this was the one where they got it right the most. They managed to do a funny spoof of a video which was comedic anyway, which is something that could easily go wrong. I liked the group colouring in and saying “Throwing papers is so badass!” “We can’t be bossed around, at least that’s what they tell us”. It’s another one that shows how transient pop music is, as this was only from a year ago when One Direction were probably at their peak, and this year people are saying that Zayn Malik quitting could be the beginning of the end.
5) ‘Electronic Wuss’
‘Fireflies’ by Owl City was always a song I had mixed feelings about. I liked it, but at the same time found it very annoying, and again this parody shows just what is wrong with it. The music is a watered down version of what The Postal Service do and the lyrics are sugary, random nonsense. I mean, I can’t really thrown stones from my glass house, as the title of this blog could easily by an Owl City song title, but this parody was very well observed.
4) ‘E.T. V.D’
While Russell Brand and Katy Perry aren’t together anymore, this is still a hilarious take on ‘E.T’ with Katy Perry wanting it to be a sweet love song and Kanye West turning it into a song about having sex with aliens, causing Katy Perry to fly herself into the sun. The Kanye West parody is one of the funniest parts of the video, particularly the line “I had to move to outer space, the only place my head could fit”.
3) ‘Die Dumb’
This parody does seem quite harsh nowadays, with it coming out that Kesha had to check into rehab and revelations that she had suffered from an eating disorder and allegations of how she has been treated while in the music industry. But I’d say this is more satirising pop star image, formulaic pop music and that godawful ”YOLO” fad than Kesha personally. I quite like ‘Die Young’ too, but even so this is a good spoof of it. My favourite part is the end where all of Kesha’s songs are sung on top of each other out causing a Kesha-pocalypse where all that’s left of the world are cockroaches, Twinkies and Kesha herself. Again, it shows good casting choice as Andrea Feczko does look very like Kesha.
2) ‘No One Likes You’
I love Adele, but this was so funny. I even like that the main joke is a checklist of British things (A Clockwork Orange, Harry Potter, Mr. Bean, The Queen, chimney sweeps) because they get so much more right than most American stuff does when they have British characters/settings. OK, the accents aren’t exactly perfect, but they get a lot of terms right (crisps instead of potato chips, flat instead of apartment, rubbish instead of garbage, primary school instead of elementary school, and even a UK postcode!). Anastasia Douglas has a very good voice as shown by her providing the vocals for Adele in these parodies. I love the line “I wish nothing but arseworms for Tim Matthews!”.
1) ‘Forgot To Remember You’
This was also the first Key Of Awesome video I saw, and it’s still my favourite one. It is an excellent and very fun take on Shakira feat. Rihanna – ‘Can’t Remember To Forget You’, showing it as a girls night in with them eating nachos and popcorn, and being cursed with an “Evil Throat Froggy”. Tatiana Owens does a fantastic job voicing both Shakira and Rihanna, she sounds just like them.