Daily Archives: August 21, 2010


Now THIS could be good!(I love the brains in the cup.)

Eat Brains Love on Laughing Squid.

The new Music Hall and the unstoppable force of social media on music

Do you recognize this guitarist? In this video she does a cover of i’m yours” by Jason Mraz. It’s a good cover for sure, and it has almost 6 million views. Six million.

Here’snother version of that song.

It has less views, just under 250,000. However this musician has lots of videos and they all have that much. She has a version of “Hey ya!” that has over 500,000 views. Do you know this musician? I have never heard of her, but lots of people have watched her perform.

Speaking of that song, here’s the incredibly good cover of Hey Ya by Mat Weddle of Obadiah Parker.

It has over six million views as well. Almost as many as Outkast has themselves.

Now these people aren’t famous in the way Jason Mraz is or Outkast or the Beatles or whomever else they are covering. Yet they are able to attract large audiences with little more than a camera and an instrument. They don’t have promoters or  producers or other talent helping with their songs. They are just simply singing for us, and getting alot of us to listen.

It likely helps that they are singing songs that are very popular. If they were singing an obscure song, it’s not as likely people would find them via YouTube as easily.  I think one of the reasons they do get an audience is that people want to hear people singing songs they like. Stiill, I think that  they would surface even without singing popular songs, either through tagging or other sharing mechanisms. YouTube is a platform that allows people to do that, much like radio was a way for bands to reach audiences that they could never reach simply by playing only in music halls. What people find interesting will rise to the top most of the time.

These artists might not get fortune this way. but it has never been easier in some ways to get a slice of fame. It reminds me of punk rock or the beginning of rock n roll, in that young people were just going out and performing and there was a willing audience to watch them. I think it is exciting and encouraging to anyone who wants to perform for an audience. You just need a camera, a good song, a good voice, and possibly one other instrument. The Hall, so to speak, is packed with millions of people, waiting for you to start.

BTW, I brought up the unstoppable force of social media on music because the music industry has been fighting for so many years to prevent people from taking over the music industry and making it their own. First there was file shariing, where you had listeners cutting out distribution of music. Now you have social music, where by the listeners cut out the promotion of music. There will still be that traditional way of making music of course, but that territory is going to shrink more and more as time goes by and the unstoppable force of social media on music keeps rolling on.

The greatness of “Wichita Lineman”

One indicaton of a great song is how well it can be remade by differenc artists, each time being something different and great in its own way. I think “Wichita Lineman” is one of those songs.

Now you may think: “that old Glen Campbell song?! Are you nuts?!” Hey, it’s a great song. It is wonderfully melodic, with evocative lyrics that flow from one verse to another.

But don’t take my word for it. Check out this version by REM

This reggae like version from Dennis Brown

This lush version by Cassandra Wilson

And finally here’s Glen Campbell, in 2008, no less, rocking it out

The visual saturation of M.I.A

I like the contradiction in some of the videos of M.I.A. like XXXO, Boyz, and to some extent, Galang. All three deploy a hyper visual style and are highly produced. But they do that using visual elements that are simple or kitchy. You feel like you are seeing something unlike what you would see in any other video. Not all her videos are that way. Paper Planes and Sunshowers are much more straightforward videos and not unlike what you would see for alot of big music groups. But those three videos are meant to visually overwhelm you, much the way her clothes do. It’s not for everyone, but I like it.

Here’s the ultra-kitsch of XXXO

Here’s the low-tech graphics of Boyz

And here’s the graffiti animation of Galang