While Yankovic’s song parodies (such as “Eat It”) have resulted in success on the Billboard charts (see List of singles by “Weird Al” Yankovic), he recorded an equally large number of original humorous songs (“You Don’t Love Me Anymore” and “One More Minute”). His work depends largely on the satirizing of popular culture, including television (see The TV Album), movies (“The Saga Begins”), food (see The Food Album), popular music (“Bohemian Polka”, “Polkarama”), and sometimes issues in contemporary news (“Headline News”). Yankovic claims he has no intention of writing “serious” music. In his reasoning, “There’s enough people that do unfunny music. I’ll leave the serious stuff to Paris Hilton and Kevin Federline.”
Although many of Yankovic’s songs are parodies of contemporary radio hits, it is rare that the song’s primary topic lampoons the original artist as a person, or the song itself. Most Yankovic songs consist of the original song’s music, with a separate, unrelated set of amusing lyrics. Yankovic considered that his first true satirical song was “Smells Like Nirvana”, which references unintelligible lyrics in Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”. Other satirical songs include “Achy Breaky Song”, which refers to the song “Achy Breaky Heart”, “(This Song’s Just) Six Words Long”, which refers to the repetitious lyrics in “Got My Mind Set on You”, the unreleased “It’s Still Billy Joel to Me”, and “Perform This Way”, set to Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way”.
Yankovic’s humor normally lies more in creating unexpected incongruity between an artist’s image and the topic of the song, contrasting the style of the song with its content (such as the songs “Amish Paradise”, “White & Nerdy”, and “You’re Pitiful”), or in pointing out trends or works which have become pop culture clichés (such as “eBay” and “Don’t Download This Song”).
Yankovic is the sole writer for all his songs and, for “legal and personal reasons”, does not accept parody submissions or ideas from fans. There exists, however, one exception to this rule in the case of “Like a Surgeon”. Madonna was reportedly talking with a friend and happened to wonder aloud when Yankovic was going to turn her “Like a Virgin” into “Like a Surgeon”. Madonna’s friend was a mutual friend of Yankovic’s manager, Jay Levey, and eventually Yankovic himself heard the story from Levey.