Weird Al Yankovic is nine songs into his next album. "I've got three more to do," he reports -- and that's the hard part.
"I need to write three parodies," Yankovic, who's in the midst of a summer tour, tells Billboard.com. "It's tough because I'm waiting for the right idea to pop into my brain. It coincides with the right song coming out; a lot of tumblers need to fall into place. If I'm lucky I'll knock 'em out when I get off the road and have out at the end of the year. If not, it'll be next year some time, but I'm hoping sooner."
Yankovic acknowledges that Lady Gaga is "a great candidate" for a parody but says that "I don't want to give anything away. All you've got to do is look at the top of the Billboard charts; that's what I'm looking at, too." Yankovic did release five of his new songs on last year's digital "Internet Leaks" EP, including a parody of T.I.'s "Whatever You Like" and stylistic homages to the White Stripes, the Doors and Queen.
Complicating things is that Yankovic's job "has gotten much harder on a number of levels." One is precious few singles these days make the kind of crossover societal impact and enjoy the "communal sharing" as songs by Michael Jackson, Don McLean, Eminem and others that he's previously parodied. And, Yankovic adds, the Internet is not always his friend.
"Because of portals like that, I will never again be the only or the first person to parody any given pop song," he explains. "By the time I'm in the studio recording my parody, 10,000 parodies of that song are on YouTube. It makes it harder to be fresh and unique. It's frustrating, but it does help me step up my game. If I can't be the first and only, I can be the best."
His last full album was 2006's gold-certified "Straight Outta Lynwood, which topped the Billboard Comedy chart, reached No. 10 on the Billboard 200 and was certified gold.
In addition to the music, Yankovic has written a children's book, "When I Grow Up," that's scheduled to be published in March. "I wrote it last year," he says, "but apparently they have a long lag time with children's literature. It needs to pass through committees and everything. But I enjoyed doing that, and I'll probably be doing more down the line."