First Taylor Swift, now college students are studying the music of Weird Al Yankovic

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Move over Taylor Swift, another musician is about to become the focus of a university class.

Vermont State University will launch a study of the songs of Weird Al Yankovic this fall. The music industry and business course will be available both to students and those in the community who hope to do a deep dive on sings like “Amish Paradise,” “Date to be Stupid,” and “Living With a Hernia.”

“Al Yankovic‘s work is not just about the parodies,” Brian Warwick, the Music Business & Industry professor who will teach the class, told WCAX. “It’s also about his tribute or pastiche songs, where it’s actually an original work by Al Yankovic, but he’s paying tribute to another artist. … It just gives us an avenue to start studying the 20th century and pop culture in the 20th century.”

Warwick isn’t just a student of Yankovic’s work, he’s also a collaborator, having worked with the artist as a recording engineer on his last two albums.

Yankovic is easy to dismiss because he specializes in parody songs, but the musician has shown longevity in an industry subset where lifespans are short. He has demonstrated a unique ability to not only write lyrics that audiences find catchy, but to perform them in a variety of styles, from machine-gun-fire rap to grunge to pop. He has managed to translate that success to film and television projects as well.

The Weird Al course follows other schools’ launch of courses studying the music of Taylor Swift Stanford rolled out last year, following one at a New York University and one at the University of Texas, Austin, both in 2022. The Stanford course was called “All Too Well (Ten Week Version),” and was presented as an “in-depth” analysis of Swift’s 2012 song, which the artist re-released in 2022 in a 10-minute-long version.

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