Elizaveta sings a Ukrainian folk song and yes, crying is okay

Usually, I will (a) find an obscure and bizarre music video, (b) make fun of famous bands with famously bad videos, or (c) delight in the discovery of something musical that is unique and amazing.

The world is too crazy right now. Making fun of things, even when it is deserved, doesn’t sit right with me today.

As a former journalist, I still love the news. The only stories I want to read right now are about Ukraine, in the hopes that they defend their country and can rebuild and live in peace again. (Some of you know what I’m talking about: liveuamap.com, the Kyiv Independent, and understandingwar.org)

So I’m running into video after video of music from Ukraine, by ordinary people and soldiers, that moves me far more than any bazillion dollar extravaganza by whatever diva or boy band is hot right now.

This is the one that I keep watching.

What do I like?

I like how it starts as simply and slowly as you can, one woman singing alone, no music whatsoever.

I like how the other people come behind her and join in, and how the power of the chorus grows.

I like the feeling behind the words in a language I don’t understand.

And I like these people, fighting for their home, and for democracy.

Slava Ukraini.

Shuba hits us with a double-whammy and a twist

Okay, this video stands on its own as funny. Watch it:

Now here’s the twist–the person in the video above isn’t lip-synching to a pop song.

This is the actual singer, and here’s Shuba’s full music video.

VERDICT: 11/10 total points for creativity and guerilla marketing. You got me to watch the video.

Well played, Shuba, well played.

Even better: a bonus video where she sings I’M A SAVAGE in all these different voices. Absolutely perfect.

Woman accused of having billions in stolen Bitcoin also made the Worst Music Video of All Time

Which crime is worse, the digital money or the music video?

I report, you decide.

Here’s the deal: A married couple in their early 30’s may have stolen up to $4.5 billion in Bitcoin, and the FBI recovered a bunch of it.

They are accused of trying to launder 119,754 of the crypto coins, stolen back when those digital things were worth $70 million and such.

But the value went way up. Way, way up.

Before I dive into how these two jokers truly screwed up after pulling this off, let’s get to the music videos.

The woman’s name is Heather Morgan and she sings under the name Razzlekhan.

Her videos on YouTube went private after the arrest.

HOWEVER: you can’t defeat the interwebs when millions of people around the world have the motivation and skills to keep treasures like this alive. WARNING: bad words, bad lyrics, bad dancing, and bad singing ahead.

Is this the biggest heist of all time? The FBI puts it at No. 1 for seizing illicit monies.

There are all kinds of other famous heists, like the Great Train Robbery, that only brought in $3.4 million or so. Though I am trained as a journalist, and write the speeches, and did not major in mathematics, I’m pretty sure that $4.5 billion is larger than $3.4 million.

But is VERSACE BEDOUIN that the Worst Music Video of All Time? Maaaybe.

The competition is tough.

FRIDAY is pretty bad and comes to us from a professional singer and a professional production crew.

For amateurs, RED DRESS is high on the list because you’ve got decent camera work and all that for an amateur production but everything just seems off. Especially the singing. It’s the uncanny valley of bad videos.

Now, here’s where she and her husband went wrong–if they did what they’re accused of: Bitcoin is a silly thing to buy, a silly thing to hold, and a silly thing to steal.

If you rob a bank, there’s no natural trail. That’s why they have cameras, and vaults, and marked bills, and dye packs. The banks and the folks with badges and handcuffs have to work at creating a trail to whoever steals the money.

If you buy Bitcoin, and lose the key and such, poof, your money is gone. There’s a man in the UK who did that and has spent, I don’t know, a year of his life digging through the city landfill looking for his old hard drive with the Bitcoin info because he lost everything, the big dummy.

If you sell Bitcoin, or purchase something, there’s a record of that on the blockchain.

And if you steal it, yeah, there’s a still a record of purchases and sales. Which means it’s a lot easier for the police to start following the built-in trail that you can’t avoid. If you read the stories about this heist, they went nuts trying to launder the Bitcoin through all sorts of accounts and such and it Did Not Matter.

So don’t rob banks, don’t steal Bitcoin, and don’t buy Bitcoin in the first place. Buy some index funds, hold them, and forget about it until you retire.

Back to the music video. I’m going to give Razzlekhan the double win here: biggest heist and worst music video ever.

She gets the win because every single element is amazingly bad. The lyrics, the attempts at dancing, the singing, the camera angles. Everything.

Do they let you make compose and shoot music videos in federal prison?

Not sure. I believe we may soon find out.

Is RED DRESS by Sarah Brand intentionally going for Worst Music Video of All Time?

In the old days, back when MTV actually played music videos, it took some doing to shoot, edit, and release a music video. You needed a serious film camera, an editor, lights, an actual band, and a platform where people could see it. Thus, MTV.

In the ’80s–and even today–there are music videos shot by Hollywood directors and budgets in the millions.

Yet these days, we all carry supercomputers in our pockets, and fool with an iPhone can shoot a video and edit it on their laptop.

That doesn’t mean they should, or that it will be good.

Which brings us to RED DRESS by Sarah Brand, which is dividing the musical world. Is it horrible, intentionally horrible, or disguised brilliance, with the singer trolling us to boost her name ID before she releases her real music?

There are comments in the YouTube that try to explain this is “microtonal music,” and amazing, while vocal coaches and other smart people say that’s nonsense and that when she was asked what key this song is in, Sarah replied, “All of them.”

Here, watch this thing so we can properly discuss and dissect it.

What say you?

I believe, deep in my soul, that the evidence clearly points to Sarah Brand as being deadly serious about this, and not trolling us at all.

This wasn’t a quick little joke.

She composed, sang, directed, and edited this video. There’s a bit of a blooper real at the end. And it’s clear she recruited every friend in sight to be in it.

But hey, I’m not going to beat her up for trying. She’s not asking us to buy concert tickets at $100 a pop. There’s no link to buy T-shirts or anything.

Sarah wanted to make a music video and did it, and the Series of Tubes is a much simpler way to share it than trying to get MTV execs to play the thing.

Is it bad? Yeah. HOWEVER: there are tons of pop stars who sound great in the studio and terrible live.

Just like anything else creative, the editing and polishing means everything. Writing, photography, painting, whatever.

Here’s an amazing look at how much editing can fix. Same raw material, same voice.

VERDICT

I’m not going to do the easy thing and hate on this, or the hipster thing and try to claim this is microtonal goodness that regular people just don’t understand.

My point is this: art is hard. Yes, some geniuses like Dave Grohl can play all the instruments on an album they make in their garage for kicks and accidentally give birth to Foo Fighters, and some filmmakers can shoot and edit a film with a skeleton crew of themselves, their dog, and Neighbor Kid Walter to fetch Taco Bell when the actors get hungry.

But those are the rare, rare exceptions. Every artist is better when they have a team of professionals behind them.

VENGEANCE by Zack Hemsey is brutal and brilliant

Technically, this isn’t a music video, and technically, I don’t care.

IT IS THE GENIUS.

Watch, then let’s discuss.

Perfect, right? The music matches the scene.

Not a little, not a lot, but so much I want to marry it.

It’s a slow burn. Tension keeps rising and rising, until it breaks and the drums kick in and it’s like Phil Collins song except Denzel Washington is slaying bad guys with severe amounts of style.

What I love about this action sequence, and the entire movie, is how Denzel’s Washington character keeps surviving and thriving despite being outnumbered and outgunned.

In 99.9 percent of action movies, the hero wins because he’s bigger and stronger (Arnold Schwarzenegger), flexible enough to do the side splits on different planets (Jean-Claude Van Damme), has better gear (IRON MAN, BATMAN), or has superpowers.

Denzel’s character wins by being clever. It’s so much more satisfying than mowing down acre after acre of faceless bad guys before confronting the Final Boss Villain on a rooftop, at night, while it’s raining, then listening to his maniac monologue and chucking him down a chasm to get impaled on something long and sharp.

There’s no creativity in showing us that again. We have seen it 329 times.

Denzel’s character in this movie, and the sequel, wins by being smarter than the bad guys. And he does it without getting repetitive, which is refreshing and entertaining. Even the first real fight scene of this movie, he’s planning things out and out-smarting the villains.

The final Home Depot-ish fight is the most creative of all. I love how he chains his traps together, starting with the stuff on the floor to use his barbed-wire and cement bag trap, then the next thug getting speared with a gardening tool when he stops to check out the body of his buddy.

Without music, this would be a wonderful scene.

With this music, it’s iconic, and I’ve watched the thing, like, five bazillion times. Do I rewatch Schwarzenegger mowing through 200 extras in baggy uniforms again and again? No.

Hat’s off to the director and the songwriter for pulling this off.

And yes, I have seen THE LITTLE THINGS, and yes, we will chat about it later this week. A beautiful film.

Bonus: full song from the movie soundtrack.

This music video is peak internet and you are required by law to watch it

Listen, I usually (1) make fun of wealthy stars spending insane amount of dough on CGI for a music video full of cringe, or (2) explore the depths of the interwebs and sometimes go back in time to discover the obscure and bizarre.

This video is completely different.

Somebody you never heard of is playing in the park, banging on bongos, and singing words from a 1930’s song that you will not understand unless you’re from the northern parts of Finland.

Even crazier: the melody goes back to the 17th century, according to something on the series of tubes called Wikiwand, which says: “The song is sung in very heavy Eastern Savonian dialects spoken in North Karelia. It takes the point of view of a young man and a woman named Ieva/Eva/Eeva in Finnish, who sneaks away to where everyone is dancing to a polka, and dances all night.”

Who can’t get down with that?

Also: although I’m Swedish, you have to admit Finland rocks. Best education system in the world. Beat the Soviet army and their tanks during World War II with a bunch of folks running around on skis with rifles. Wrote songs about people sneaking away to dance all night way back in the 17th century. Get on with your bad self, Finland.

Here’s the original footage.

Cool, right?

Then another man who’s not a household name takes that footage, uses some video editing magic, and turns some folk polka bongo goodness into an Epic Club Remix that I have happily listened to FIVE BAZILLION TIMES.

I mean, this thing is my new jam. I could not love it more. Crank up the volume to 11 and listen.

You’ve got the sound guru, a woman dancing like nobody’s watching, Vibing Cat–and to top it, a Random Horn and Strings Section.

I could not love this more. It’s impossible. Tried to. Didn’t work.

The Kiffness, you rock. Give us moar moar MOAR.

VIDEO: The Red Pen of Doom interprets the lyrics to ICE, ICE, BABY

A long time ago, in a Florida far, far away, there was a young rapper who showed up on MTV and turned into an overnight star.

He didn’t really have other hit songs–the one from TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES does not count–and no, I’m not a giant fan of Vanilla Ice, who later became some kind of home improvement channel renovator and such, but not on the show with the two redheads in Indiana.

HOWEVER: the lyrics on this song are actually interesting, and worth going into, line-by-line.

I did so, using a keyboard, in a previous post. Now, I’m teaching myself how to use Adobe After Effects and such, and the new Evil Supercomputer happily renders videos. So here’s my first video, and yes, this is janky and terrible in spots. My video editing skills are small and young, but I will feed them small videos, then medium-sized ones, and one day, we will kill a Godzilla-sized film and feast upon it for days.

Next: I’m thinking of interpreting the lyrics to the classic song, ELECTRIC AVENUE, the first one I remember seeing on MTV, and no, I don’t care if some other video was officially first. This was way back, right after Spanish American War, and they played ELECTRIC AVENUE using telegrams and such. It was glorious.

VERY NOISE by Igorrr is definitely weird, but is it any good?

Anyone today can make music, then jack into the Matrix and upload their creation–along with a video–for the world to see.

If they can find it.

I scoured YouTube and found this thing, so let’s take a peek before we talk smack.

First, I have to say the music is fine. Don’t hate it, don’t love it, but perfectly listenable. Nothing super strange or unique about it.

The video is what interests me, because they obviously (a) had a decent CGI budget and (b) put some real thought into a storyline that’s (c) pretty funny and effective.

Who doesn’t like monster movies, and a bit of Godzilla-like smashing of a metropolis or three?

And who won’t enjoy an unlikely hero, in this case a motorcycle-riding old man, riding in to fight the monster even though it’s suicidal?

My only quibble with this video is a longer fight would have been enjoyable. Also expected, which is probably why they subverted that by having the Ancient Biker Anti-Hero kill the monster in this unusual and non-heroic way.

VERDICT

Hey, this is art, and it is both interesting and different. Give us moar.

ALL THE STARS is the perfect song for a perfect movie

black panther, all the stars, sza, kendrick lamar, chadwick boseman

Usually, I will do one of three things with a music video: (a) find an obscure and bizarre treasure to share, (b) dissect something terrible, or (c) decipher the lyrics to an amazing song.

Today, I’m listening to ALL THE STARS on repeat, and there’s a good chance this may be a weeklong tribute to Chadwick Boseman, because the man was amazing. Jackie Robinson, Thurgood Marshall, James Brown, Black Panther–the man could play anybody. Boundless talent and a bottomless heart. He visited kids in cancer wards for years and never let on that he was sick himself. Not once.

Wakanda forever, damn it.

Who actually made the first music video OF ALL TIME?

You may ask yourself, “Is that really a hard question?” And you may tell yourself, “The first was VIDEO KILLED THE RADIO STAR, everybody knows MTV played that when it went live right after the Civil War, because Abraham Lincoln sent a telegram requesting it.”

Except all of that is wrong.

Some say the first real music videos were made in this place called Oz, a mystical land where every animal is poisonous. And there is good evidence for this, with Australian TV news staffer Russell Mulcahy shooting videos for local bands like AC/DC back in the ’70s, years before MTV went live.

So here’s a good contender:

However, there’s another video released around the same time–1975–that is a far better song, a song that’s massively famous and universally beloved. We’re talking BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY by Queen, and I could die happy if we settle on this epic as the First Music Video Ever.

Case closed.

Queen also had the first music video banned by MTV, which gives them 150,000,000 rebellious rock points, so let’s go with Queen.

Except that’s not really the first music video, not even close, because Bob Dylan was doing black-and-white music videos while inventing memes long before neckbeard edgelords were spending all their time learning the Adobe Creative Suite to make it to the front page of reddit with their HQ gifs. How do you pronounce gifs, with a G like it’s spelled or J like we’re talking peanut butter? I know the answer. Come closer and I’ll whisper it to you: “Gif is officially pronounced HOWEVER THE HELL YOU LIKE, because this is the dumbest controversy ever and I do not care one itty bitty bit.”

Here’s Bob Dylan doing his thing ten years earlier than Queen.

Okay then, we have a winner. Right?

Maybe.

Not really.

It all depends on what your definition of musical video is, and how far you want to (a) stretch it and (b) go back in time and technology. Wikipedia lists all sorts of musical short films in the 1920s, along with musical shorts / teasers that ran before the film you paid a full nickel to watch. There were Soundies in the WWII years with short dance sequences set to music and stuff happening with jazz and funky things going on in France with alien jukebox video technology (actually not really making that up, go check it out).

I mean, you could go crazy going down this rabbit hole, which I will not do, because who will pay for my therapy?

HOWEVER: What we all should agree on is that VIDEO KILLED THE RADIO STAR is not really the first music video. At all.

It’s just the first one that MTV played.