A random duet turns out to be awesomesauce

music video meme sound of music

Kristin Chenoweth likes to do something few performers dare: grab somebody random from the audience and perform a duet.

This can be funny, or so bad it’s good, like karaoke writ large with a big pop star and an audience of 20,000 instead of 14 guys at the Elks Lodge.

In this case, Chenoweth got a shock when Sarah Horn answered the call to “who knows the words to For Good from Glinda?”

CLARITY by Zedd is ambitious and good

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Music videos are common, and have been done so many time, it’s hard to do anything truly different or interesting.

The Beastie Boys played cheesy cops with giant mustaches in SABOTAGE, which is classic. But 99 percent of other music videos are rock stars preening, divas dancing, boy bands prancing or soulful singers looking all pouty and depressed with their guitar.

CLARITY by Zedd has guts and ambition. They shot footage other than the lead singer wailing and the guitarist thrashing. The film looks interesting, like it could be part of a movie — I wanted to see more of what they did out in the desert and the streets.

Well done, German euro-rockers.

DESERT ROSE by Sting

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No matter what you think of Sting — and you should think VERY WELL of him — he’s never boring.

This video is part travelogue, part concert-montage. And it has yet to bore me.

ICE, ICE BABY as sung by the movies

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Oh, this is brilliant. The classic ’90s song by Vanilla Ice, as sung by clips from various movies.

For fans of this song, I took the original and put it under the lyrical microscope, line by line:
ICE, ICE BABY as interpreted by the Red Pen of Doom

CAMERA ONE by the Josh Joplin Group

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The great thing about the Series of Tubes is this: say you hear a song on the radio, or lived back in the day when MTV played, I don’t know, music videos instead of stupid reality shows involving overtanned dipsticks and C-list reality shot “celebrities” who are only famous because they’re the son, daughter or step-daughter of a B-list celebrity.

The only way to hear that song again, or see the video, was to (a) glue yourself to the radio, night and day, (b) hit the record store and hope the clerk behind the counter can figure out the song, artist and album from you saying “You know, the video where the singer smashes a guitar on stage” or (c) camping out in front of the Glowing Tube until a coked-up VJ decides to play that video again.

For music loving people, the good old days were not so good. There was a reason hipsters lived at record stores: that’s how you found gems like CAMERA ONE by the Josh Joplin Group.

Today is a better day for anyone who loves music. I’ve had this song on my laptop forever. But is there a video? Ten seconds of messing around on youtube and bam, here it is.

Listen to the lyrics of this thing. The song is great, and the video is interesting — yet the lyrics are what stick with me, even though I’ve listened to this song forever. It doesn’t get old.

Let Jessie Ware turn out your NIGHT LIGHT

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Jessie the Ware is British and therefore can make things like “That’s all kinds of rubbish” sound incredibly smart and cultured. I believe, deep in my soul, that everyone should be required to pick between a British or Irish accent.

Either way, her songs and videos are interesting. Jessie never takes the safe way out. She’s not afraid to try something new with every video. For that, I salute you, Jessie the Ware. .

Another musical invasion from the UK: Jessie Ware’s WILDEST MOMENTS

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So this Jessie Ware, if you haven’t heard of her, is talented and different and old school mates with some singer named Adele and some other singer named Florence, as in Florence and the Machine.

If you like music, and music videos, you’ll like what she does here.

Many, many rock and pop stars tend to make videos that all look the same, and I mean that both ways: every video they make looks like (a) every other video they’ve ever made and (b) every other video made by similar artists. This has been true since Hair Bands put on their first pair of spandex pants in 1982 and will be true forever.

Jessie the Ware tries something different every time, and here she tries something simple and stark and interesting: just her, a plain background and a swiveling chair.

I like it, I love it, I want some more of it.

Walk Off the Earth blows up GRENADE by Bruno Mars

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So I’ve found this genius band from the big honking nation known as Canada — which has provinces where you could fit Texas and Alaska inside and still have room for most European counties — and while WOTE is getting radio airplay know for Red Hands, they’ve done a zillion covers. Here’s the thing: those covers are often better than the originals.

Related: RED HANDS by Walk Off the Earth is music video goodness

Here’s one member of WOTE doing Bruno Mars, all by his lonesome. And he’s just messing around with a loop machine in his guest bedroom or whatever. Brilliant.

The original by Bruno the Mars:

Related posts: Music Video Monday’s Greatest Hits

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This is Guy Bergstrom the writer, not the Guy Bergstrom in Stockholm or the guy in Minnesota who sells real estate or whatever. Separate guys. Kthxbai.
Guy Bergstrom. Photo by Suhyoon Cho.

Reformed journalist. Scribbler of speeches and whatnot. Wrote a thriller that won some award (PNWA 2013). Represented by Jill Marr of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.

ANYTHING COULD HAPPEN by Elle Goulding is completely bonkers

I have heard this song on the radios, and over the Series of Tubes through some kind of Pandora magic, though Pandora is missing her Box for some reason.

HOWEVER: The point is, this song by Elle the Goulding is interesting plus the video is craaazy.

Which is good.

Because the last thing the world needs is another boring music video where (a) the band rocks out on stage while playing their guitars and such, because that has NEVER BEEN DONE BEFORE, or (b) the singer pretends to sing while doing a choreographed dance number with 592 backup dancers and 17 costume changes.

I give Elle the Goulding bonus points for trying something different.

Simple and impressive: The Finnish Whistler

Now, I enjoy dissecting the lyrics of insane music videos, such as ICE, ICE BABY — but once and a great while, there’s a music video that comes out of nowhere, like a burly mountain man stomping through town with a giant axe on his shoulder and a hankering for Insane Amounts of Flapjacks — and this is one such video that surprised and amused me.

Also, it has no lyrics to dissect at all, unless I speak bird. Which I don’t. If you can translate, go for it.

Also-also: This would be a perfect song for some kind of spaghetti Western starring Clint Eastwood, though I mean the younger version of about 30 years ago, before he starting picking fights with empty chairs.

HO HEY by The Lumineers

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This is a simple little song with a simple little video that still manages to ROCK THE HOUSE.

Also, I don’t really hear much of a difference between the Ho! and the Hey! parts, but hey, that’s artistic license and such.

Also-also: There’s something of a trend of Mumford and Son types, musicians wearing suspenders while playing folksy rock that involves (a) a banjo, (b) a bass and (c) harmonicas or whatever.

This is a good thing, though it will certainly snowball into some kind of trend where record executives start signing up folks bands with accordians instead of amplifiers faster than an aspiring writer can tell you about their YA series that is NOT inspired — they swear — by Harry Potter or The Hunger Games, because they have a school of witches, not wizards, and the zombies show up on page 392.

Also-cubed: As for the controversy over whether The Lumineers (original band name: The Night Lights) are singing “You’re my sweetheart” or “You’re my sweet home” — the answer is, “sweet heart.”

Here’s the video. Watch it. DO IT NOW, because YouTube / the Google needs your clicks and money or whatever before their stock starts doing the Facebook nosedive.

For word nerds around the world, the lyrics:

(Ho!) I’ve been trying to do it right
(Hey!) I’ve been living a lonely life
(Ho!) I’ve been sleeping here instead
(Hey!)I’ve been sleeping in my bed,
(Ho!) sleeping in my bed (Hey!)
(Ho!)

(Ho!) So show me family
(Hey!) Or the blood that I would bleed
(Ho!) I don’t know where I belong
(Hey!) I don’t know where I went wrong
(Ho!) But I can write a song
(Hey!)

I belong with you, you belong with me
You’re my sweetheart
I belong with you, you belong with me
You’re my sweet

(Ho!)
(Hey!)
(Ho!)
(Hey!)

(Ho!) I don’t think you’re right for him
(Hey!) Leave the world it might have been
(Ho!) Took a bus to china town
(Hey!) I’ll be standing on canal
(Ho!) And bowery (hey!)
(Ho!) She’d be standing next to me (hey!)

I belong with you, you belong with me
You’re my sweetheart
I belong with you, you belong with me
You’re my sweetheart

And love, we need it now
Let’s hope for some
Cause oh, we’re bleeding out

I belong with you, you belong with me
You’re my sweetheart
I belong with you, you belong with me
You’re my sweetheart

(Hey!)
(Ho!)
(Hey!)

TAKE A WALK by Passion Pit

music video meme sound of music

A band I’ve never heard of with an interesting song and great camera work.

Not too shabby, Passion Pit — not to shabby at all.

For all you word nerds, here are the lyrics:

All these kind of places
Make it seems like it’s been ages
Tomorrow some new building will scrape the sky
I love this country dearly
I can feel the ladder clearly
But I never thought I’d be alone to try

Once I was outside Penn station
Selling red and white carnations
We were still alone
My wife and I
Before we marry, save my money
Brought my dear wife over
Now I work to bring family state side

But off the boat they stayed a while and
Scattered across the coast
Once a year I’ll see them for a week or so at most
I took a walk

Take a walk, take a walk, take a walk
Take a walk, oh-oh-oh
Take a walk, oh-oh-oh
I took a walk
Take a walk, take a walk, take a walk
Take a walk, take a walk, take a walk

Practice isn’t perfect
But the market cuts the loss
I remind myself that times could be much worse
My wife won’t ask me questions
There’s not so much to ask
And she’ll never flaunt around an empty purse

Once my mother-in-law came
Just to stay a couple nights
And decided she would stay the rest of her life
I watch my little children
Play some board game in the kitchen
And I sit and pray they never feel my strife

But then my partner called to say the pension funds were gone
He made some bad investments
Now the accounts are overdrawn

I took a walk
Take a walk, take a walk, take a walk
Take a walk, oh-oh-oh
Take a walk, 0h-oh-oh
I took a walk
Take a walk, take a walk, take a walk
Take a walk, take a walk, take a walk

Honey it’s your son I think I borrowed just too much
We had taxes we had bills
We had a lifestyle to front
And tonight I swear I’ll come home
And we’ll make love like we’re young
And tomorrow you’ll cook dinner
For the neighbors and their kids
We could rip apart those socialists
and all their damn taxes
You’ll see I am no criminal
I’m down on both bad knees
I’m just too much a coward
to admit when I’m in need

I took a walk
Take a walk, take a walk, take a walk
Take a walk, oh-oh-oh
Take a walk, 0h-oh-oh
I take a walk
Take a walk, take a walk, take a walk
Take a walk, take a walk, take a walk
I took a walk
Take a walk, take a walk, take a walk
Take a walk, take a walk, take a walk
I took a walk
Take a walk, take a walk, take a walk
Take a walk, take a walk, take a walk
Take a walk, take a walk, take a walk
Take a walk, take a walk, take a walk

TOO CLOSE by Alex Clare

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Bad fight choreography, great song.

Maybe, just maybe, somebody saw FROM YESTERDAY by 30 Seconds to Mars and said hey, we can’t afford to fly a crew to China and hire 500 extras to make a mini-movie masterpiece. But we do know two dudes who just started taking kendo.

Lyrics for TOO CLOSE:

You know I’m not one to break promises
I don’t want to hurt you but I need to breathe
At the end of it all you’re still my best friend
But there’s something inside that I need to release

Which way is right, which way is wrong
How do I say that I need to move on?
You know we have is separate way

And it feels like I am just too close to love you
There’s nothing I can really say
I can’t lie no more, I can’t hide no more
Got to be true to myself

And it feels like I am just too close to love you so I’ll be on my way

You gave me more that I can return
Yet there’s so much that you deserve
Nothing to say, nothing to do
I’ve nothing to give
I must leave without you
You know we have to separate

And it feels like I am just too close to love you
There’s nothing I can really say
I can’t lie no more, I can’t hide no more
Got to be true to myself

And it feels like I am just too close to love you so I’ll be on my way
So I’ll be on my way
And it feels like I am just too close to love you
There’s nothing that I can really say
I can’t lie no more, I can’t hide no more
Got to be true to myself

And it feels like I am just too close to love you so I’ll be on my way
So I’ll be on my way, so I’ll be on my way

Music Video Monday: GANGNAM STYLE by Psy

music video meme sound of music

So, I usually find great music videos and go at them with a literary scalpel, like a first-year biology student going after his first frog — or I take insane music videos and make fun of them.

Each method is equally rewarding.

HOWEVER: Sometimes, a random music video pops up that is not one of the pure forms. It’s not insane, insipid or inscrutable. Nor is it beautiful in the standard way.

Every once and a while, something pops up that is both insane AND great.

Like this piece from South Korea, which also proves the point that attitude trumps all. The singer isn’t conventionally good looking. He’s short and out of shape. But oh, he’s got swagger, and it makes him far more charming than a boy-band member with perfect abs who tries very, very hard not to get a hair out of place while he croons.

Typically, I interpret the lyrics of videos. Not this time. Just watch and enjoy.

Music Video Monday: Florence + The Machine

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If I post a music video every Monday, or every other Monday, or on random Mondays when I feel like it, I will officially be playing more music than this channel on your cable box called MTV.

That channel, which was once proud and powerful, is now apparently dedicated to documentaries about the fake-tanning habits of young, unmarried losers in New Jersey with gelled hair and steroid problems and fake body parts.

 

Watch this insane video by Florence + The Machine, then use your literary powers of deconstruction to figure out what it’s trying to say.

I believe the alien go-go dancers are a tribute to all the green alien women Captain Kirk conquered back in the 1960s, and that the end of the video pays homage to the only good scene in X-MEN: THE FINAL COUNTDOWN OR WHATEVER when Famke Janssen, who rocked as an evil Bond girl in Goldeneye, went nuts and turned all these bad guys into dust because Hugh Jackman refused to go steady with her.