Alternative rock band Imagine Dragons has called Weird Al’s parody of their song “Radioactive” a “huge honor.”
Imagine Dragons spoke with Billboard about Weird Al’s newest album Mandatory Fun, saying they’ve always been fans of Al’s music.
“We’re all big Al fans,” said Imagine Dragons drummer Daniel Platzman. “[Bassist] Ben [McKee]’s first three live concerts were Weird Al, and I used to perform his polkas at summer camp with my brother every summer. ‘Polka Your Eyes Out’ is the Platzman family favorite.”
For Weird Al’s triumphant return to comedy music, he parodies Imagine Dragon’s incredibly popular hit “Radioactive” from their debut album Night Visions, calling his parody “Inactive.” The track is no doubt a reflection of the American stereotype of overeating and not exercising. “Inactive” opens with the lines:
“I’m waking up in Cheeto dust
My belly’s covered with pizza crust
I’m using my inhaler now
I’m out of shape, fattening up
I’m sipping Coke from a solo cup
Donut crumbs are upon my lips, whoa”
Imagine Dragons, like most artists parodied by Weird Al, considered the spoof of “Radioactive” to be an honor rather than an insult. Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain claimed he knew the band had “made it” when Weird Al parodied “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” The only artist to have ever turned Al down for parody rights was allegedly Prince.
Imagine Dragons’ drummer was so pleased with the parody that he even suggested a new idea for Weird Al’s next Imagine Dragons parody: “Damons,” a parody of “Demons” about Matt Damon. Platzman even came up with some lyrics: “It’s where Matt Damon hides, it’s where Matt Damon hides.”
You can listen to the original song followed by Weird Al’s parody in the videos below.
In addition to “Inactive,” Weird Al’s newest album tackles a few familiar pop artists. The tracks include “Handy,” a parody of Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy;” “Word Crimes,” a parody of Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines;” and “Foil,” a parody of Lorde’s “Royals.” The Wire posted a detailed ranking of all of Weird Al’s new parodies, including “Inactive.” The site criticizes the parody pretty harshly, stating the following:
“There are major parts of the song that Weird Al gets right: Comparing the first verse’s weird breathing noise to an asthmatic needing their inhaler is brilliant. The vocal distortion is spot-on. But that’s the biggest problem with this song: It’s as unintelligible as the song it’s parodying.”
Mandatory Fun was released by RCA Records in the United States on July 15.
While Weird Al is regaining popularity for what seems like the 100th time, Imagine Dragons is keeping busy performing benefit concerts for families with cancer.