"Weird Al" Yankovic - Word Crimes

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"Weird Al" Yankovic's new album "Mandatory Fun" out now

Music video by "Weird Al" Yankovic performing Word Crimes. (C) 2014 RCA Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

"Word Crimes" is a song by American musician "Weird Al" Yankovic from his fourteenth studio album, Mandatory Fun (2014). The song is a parody of the 2013 single "Blurred Lines" by Robin Thicke, featuring Pharrell Williams and T.I.. The song spoofs misuse of proper English grammar and usage, reflecting Yankovic's own rigor for proper syntax and semantics. Yankovic chose a topic that would be distinct from those used in many pre-existing parodies, and that would avoid the misogyny issues that had arisen from the source material.

"Word Crimes" received favorable reviews from contemporary music critics, with some describing it as a highlight of Mandatory Fun. The song's music video utilizes kinetic typography, and was compared to the earlier educational Schoolhouse Rock! musical cartoons. The song landed at number 39 on the Billboard Hot 100, granting Yankovic his fourth Top 40 hit, making him only the third artist in history (alongside Michael Jackson and Madonna) to have a top 40 hit in every decade since the 1980s.

"Word Crimes" mocks online commenters and their neglect of proper grammar in the English language. In the song, Yankovic spoofs those who use numbers in place of letters, which he criticizes as only acceptable if they are children, or Prince (referring to successful Prince songs with numbers in their title, such as "I Would Die 4 U"). He also lampoons people who use the word literally to describe non-literal situations. The song highlights other common prescriptions: Yankovic mentions the usage of less versus fewer, and the use of "to whom" as opposed to "to who". Spelling is also brought up, as he states that there is no "x" in the word espresso (n.b. expresso). Regarding punctuation, he comments on the use of "it's" as a possessive instead of the correct "its," and the optional use of the Oxford comma. Yankovic also mentions the common confusion between "doing good", doing good deeds, and "doing well". Also mentioned in the song is the idiom "I couldn't care less" being commonly corrupted as "I could care less".

Yankovic noted that he deliberately added a split infinitive in the lyrics to see if listeners would notice. The line "Try your best to not drool" appears at the end of the song. Contrary to common misconception, split infinitives are not forbidden by English grammar rules.

The song's music video, a lyric video, was released on the same day of the album's release, the second in a series of eight consecutive video releases. The video is a kinetic typography video created by Jarrett Heather, which plays on the song's theme of proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation. MTV News considered it a spoof on the growing popularity of lyric videos, calling it "a pretty incredible piece of animation"

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