Mandatory Fun is the fourteenth studio album by American musician "Weird Al" Yankovic. Self-produced, the album was released by RCA Records in the United States on July 15, 2014. The release includes parodies of songs by Pharrell Williams, Robin Thicke, Iggy Azalea, Lorde and Imagine Dragons. It also features original songs in the form of pastiche, imitating the styles of the Pixies; Cat Stevens; Foo Fighters; Crosby, Stills & Nash; and Southern Culture on the Skids. During the closing stages of the Alpocalypse tour, Yankovic stated in an interview with The Morning Call that he had one more album on his contract; the paper and other sources took to mean that this album would be his last. Yankovic later clarified that this was the last album on the current recording contract with his label, that he is currently "weighing his options" for renewing the contract or looking to another publisher, and made it clear that he was not retiring from music in the foreseeable future. In a later interview with NPR's "Weekend Edition", he stated that this might be his last conventional album, turning instead to more frequent releases of singles and EPs, as with the time between producing full-length albums, "chances are a lot of the material is going to be somewhat dated by the time it comes out".
The first tracks conceived for the album were original songs in the style of various bands as, compared to direct parodies, the pastiches "age better". Prior to composing these songs, he had been listening to older acts such as Cat Stevens, Foo Fighters, and Southern Culture on the Skids for his own amusement. His Crosby, Stills & Nash style parody "Mission Statement" draws from his experiences attending executive meetings in his music career. Shortly after completing the song, Yankovic encountered Graham Nash, who coincidentally asked Yankovic to parody a Crosby, Stills & Nash song. "First World Problems" is an original composition emulating the style of the Pixies, whom Yankovic had performed alongside for a charity concert two years prior.
Yankovic noted that his usual method of generating parody ideas is to scan Billboard charts, radio play and online buzz in order to create a master list of candidates. From that point, he works out possible puns on the song titles, the potential for humor and general direction for his versions. Fans speculated ahead of the album's release that Yankovic would parody "Let It Go" from the Disney film Frozen, due to the song's popularity. He later explained that he considered making a Frozen parody titled "Make It So" about Star Trek: The Next Generation, but decided not to after discovering such a parody already existed. Yankovic observed that the existing spoof "had gotten enough attention online to make the Disney legal department ask them to take it down! I couldn't think of an idea that I liked as much as 'Make It So', so... I gave up!".
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