Original CD release: July 15, 2014
Original LP release: August 5, 2014
Way Moby/RCA Records/Sony Music Entertainment
Prepare for Mandatory Fun
Highest Billboard Chart Position: #1
1. Handy (2:56)
2. Lame Claim to Fame (3:45)
3. Foil (2:22)
4. Sports Song (2:14)
5. Word Crimes (3:43)
6. My Own Eyes (3:40)
7. NOW That's What I Call Polka! (4:06)
8. Mission Statement (4:28)
9. Inactive (2:56)
10. First World Problems (3:13)
11. Tacky (2:53)
12. Jackson Park Express (9:05)
|NOTES & TRIVIA|
Parody/original/polka ratio: 5/6/1
Love songs: "Jackson Park Express" (17)
Production Summary: All twelve songs were written and recorded for this album. In order to seize on a recent hit song and get the album out as soon as possible, Al traveled to Denver to wait for Iggy Azalea backstage after a concert to personally ask for her permission to parody "Fancy." Video footage of Al meeting Iggy was posted onto TMZ.com, marking the first time the public got to witness Al asking for permission for a parody.
Tour Status: As of this update, 77% of this album has been included in a regular tour setlist.
Al's final album on his original Scotti Bros.-cum-Volcano record contract, ending an unbroken 32-year streak with one label (in all of its incarnations). Al half-jokingly explained in interviews at the time of the album's release that he had "finally" fulfilled his contract obligations, but in actuality Al had renewed his original Scotti Bros. contract twice--most notably in mid-December 2002 when Weirdal.com revealed that it took Al nearly three years to negotiate terms with Volcano, a conversation that had in fact delayed the completion of the Poodle Hat album.
Selling over 104,000 physical and digital copies in its first week of release, it debuted at #1 on the "Billboard 200" in August 2, 2014, issue of Billboard, becoming not only Al's highest charting audio release ever but also his #1 on the main albums chart. It also marked the first time a comedy album reached #1 in Billboard since Allan Sherman's My Son, the Nut in 1963--and the first time ever a comedy album debuted at the top spot in the history of the magazine. The first week's sales also marked Al's largest week since SoundScan first began tallying record sales for Billboard in 1991, not to mention also being the best week of sales for a comedy album since The Beavis and Butt-Head Experience sold 118,000 copies in January 1994. Mandatory Fun would remain on the "Billboard 200" for a total of twelve weeks.
The album's second week of sales landed the title at #3 on the "Billboard 200," thus becoming Al's second highest chart position ever!
To promote the album, Al devised a unique strategy unlike anything he's done before, releasing an onslaught of eight brand new music videos over the course of eight days on various partner web sites. Unlike the mostly animated videos for Straight Outta Lynwood and Alpocalypse, half of these new videos were live action and the other half were animated.
On July 14, a live action video for "Tacky" debuted on Nerdist.com, co-produced by the site and directed by Al. By the end of the week, the video was viewed more than 3.5 million times.
On July 15, an animated video for "Word Crimes" debuted on Al's Vevo YouTube channel, animated by Jarrett Heather. By the end of the week, the video was viewed more than nine million times.
On July 16, a live action video for "Foil" premiered via CollegeHumor, directed by Al. By week's end, the video logged nearly eleven million views. Its debut also marked the first time since Running with Scissors that Al directed more than one music video for an album.
On July 17, a live action video for "Handy" premiered on Yahoo! Screen, directed by Al and marking the third time he's ever directed more than two videos for an album.
On July 18, a live action video for "Sports Song" debuted on Funny or Die. Directed by Al, it serves as the first video he's directed for an original song since "Bob" in 2003.
On July 19, a live action video for "First World Problems" premiered on PopCrush, directed by Liam Lynch.
On July 20, the video debuted for "Lame Claim to Fame," a stop-motion piece animated by Tim Thompson that utilized newly shot photographs of Al, the band, and Dr. Demento.
Finally, on July 21, The Wall Street Journal's "Speakeasy" blog premiered an animated video for "Mission Statement," directed by Eric Oakland and produced by TruScribe.
Despite kicking off the week of music videos with "Tacky," and despite "Handy" being the lead-off track, Al intentionally didn't designate any one song as the "single" off the album. Understanding the more viral nature of the music-buying (and downloading) public, he preferred to instead see which of the twelve songs would resonate the most with listeners. Perhaps somewhat surprisingly then, with a combination of downloads, streams, and video views, "Word Crimes" would become the "hit" off the album. The song would debut at #39 on Billboard's "Hot 100" in its August 2 issue, becoming Al's fourth top forty hit. Amazingly, "Word Crimes'" chart placement also meant that Al became only the third artist in Billboard history to have top forty singles in the 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, and 2010s--the first two artists being Michael Jackson and Madonna. "Word Crimes" would stay on the "Hot 100" for just two weeks.
Although Al doesn't seek permission to do his original "style parodies," he did by chance get the after-the-fact blessing of Graham Nash on "Mission Statement." Al was in New York in 2013 and ran into Graham at a satellite radio office. Graham jokingly asked Al if he was ever going to parody Crosby, Stills & Nash's iconic "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes." As if on cue, Al played the just-recorded "Mission Statement" on his iPhone, much to Graham's delight and approval.
Issued on vinyl on August 5, 2014. The LP edition a bonus download code for the entire album. The album would reach #4 on Billboard's "Vinyl Albums" chart, marking Al's first time appearing on the chart and his highest ranking there.
Released in Australia on July 18, 2014.
Earned Al his fifteenth Grammy nomination and his fourth Grammy win, specifically in the Best Comedy Album category (his second win in that category).
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This page was last updated March 21, 2019
Mandatory Fun ©2014 Way Moby/RCA Records.