A random duet turns out to be awesomesauce

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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.