The Great Weird Al Word Count

Frequently Asked Questions

Actually, it's rather presumptuous to call these FAQs, because as I write this, the site is brand new. Still, in the interest of heading off certain questions, here we go.

Q: How does the wildcard (*) work?
A: It matches any string of characters except spaces and newlines. Perhaps the best way to explain it is a set of examples.
Example 1: shoe* matches shoe, shoes, shoelaces, etc.
Example 2: *man matches man, woman, he-man, Sherman, snowman, etc.
Example 3: w*t matches want, what, won't, wouldn't, etc.
Example 4: "he * me" matches "he told me," "he killed me," "he gave me," etc.
Get the idea?

Q: Why not include songs not on Weird Al's albums?
A: Well, perhaps I will eventually, but there's an awful lot of them and no particularly good way of organizing them. It would also add a lot of processing time if they were all lumped together.

Q: What are words in parentheses vs. words in brackets?
A: Word in parentheses are sung by the backup singers. (And sometimes that's Al doing his own backups.) Words in brackets are either editorial notes or spelling out something noted with symbols or numbers in the lyrics. For example, a lyric containing "A++" will have "[A plus plus]" after it. See the next question for more information.

Q: Should I search for numbers by numerals (e.g. 7) or words (e.g. seven)?
A: Unless it's part of a proper name, year, or such, all numbers are spelled out, regardless of how they were originally printed. When proper names are used (e.g. 747), the words are spelled out at the end of the line in brackets as they are spoken (e.g. [seven forty-seven]). They are placed at the end of the line so as not to interfere with searches for complete phrases.

Q: I found a misspelled word or incorrect lyric. What should I do?
A: Please report it to me.

Q: Why create this site when already exists?
A: Well, the truth is I didn't know about when I started writing this script. But even after I became aware, this site has a few advantages.

  1. You get an exact word count instead of a "score" for each song.
  2. You can see the matching lyric(s) without having to view the whole song.
  3. You can get word counts for entire albums.
  4. You can search only certain albums, if desired.
  5. The results aren't cluttered with the original songs Weird Al has parodied.
  6. It should look reasonably good on any browser and no JavaScript is required.

Q: Why do most of the pages say they were created in April and May 2003, but I never heard of the site until February 2005?
A: Laziness. Procrastination. Too unbelievably cool to be on time. Take your pick.

Q: Who do you think you are?
A: Just a dedicated Weird Al fan since I discovered him in 1984.