Okay, I’m surrendering all pretense that I’m not a dork. A friend of mine from college posted several Facebook status updates to his profile lately that redirected to a site called SingSnap. What is SingSnap, do you ask? It’s online karaoke. No more, no less. But just think about it… we habitual karaoke-ers pick out our songs at home. We rehearse them. We learn every nuance of the original recording. And then after we humiliate ourselves in public, we try to learn the quirks of the karaoke recording track so we can do better next time.
Imagine if you had that power at home. The power to record and re-record at will. The power to add effects to your stage performance. The power of karaoke-social-networking. Mwah-ha-ha-haaaa….
I even bought a gold membership for six months before actually saving any of my recordings because it adds reverb and compression to your voice recording. I’m a sucker, I know. But listen to my first lame attempt. I can do better, I know, but I wanted to get this up for my friends suffering from heat exhaustion at the Library Leadership Institute for Massachusetts. Reports say that they spent the day in a non-air conditioned room all day when it was 90 degrees outside. It may have been upwards of 105 degrees inside!
I am so in love with this video. Some American tourists in Japan just set their video camera on a plate and send it around the kaiten-zushi at a Japanese sushi bar. It’s awesome to see all the different diners and their reactions. And the climax is so surprising and suspenseful!
My friend Bruce was visiting a few weeks ago, and while he was working on his laptop in the next room, he started playing a song which prompted me to comment, “Ah, Rufus Wainwight…” to which he replied, “No, Matt Alber.” Well, I was surprised, the vocal resonance and song stile was very similar to Rufus, especially from that first, self-titled album. A few minutes later a video popped up in my e-mail, and I got to see Matt performing in the video for his song, “End of the World.” Now music often moves me to tears, but rarely does video. In this case, both aspects of this beautiful song got me choked up. From the longing melody to the simple visual of streaming sunlight, “End of the World” is one of those song/video combinations that knocks it out of the part. Almost every image, from the way the barber tips Matt’s chair back to the look on his face halfway through the film, takes my breath away. I don’t want to say anything else so you can experience it yourself, so take a look.
So, during the first two or three years of the 1980s, my favorite band was a little South African outfit called Spider. They had one top 40 hit called “New Romance (It’s A Mystery)” but became better known for a what a couple of their members went on to do after the band broke up. Anton Fig was their drummer, and he was well-known for performing nightly on the David Letterman show. Holly Knight played keyboards, and she went on to be a famous songwriter who wrote songs for the likes of Tina Turner, Pat Benatar, Heart, Aerosmith and many, many more.
Having missed my one chance to see them live (they were supposed to open for Alice Cooper at the Cape Cod Coliseum and I bought tickets but the show was cancelled!) and never having known them to shoot a video, I thought my chances of ever seeing them perform — even faking it — were nil. Well, leave it to YouTube. You’ll recognize the song because Tina Turner went on to make it a huge hit. However, Spider recorded it first, and this version will always be the one I remember and cherish the most. (Although it’s edited way down in this clip.)
Seems to be the week for catchy YouTube ditties. Earlier this week, I saw a post about this one on geeksarsexy.com. The video is the 2007 award winning fan anime music video from the conference Animazement. It’s very nicely done, but the real treat is the song Code Monkey by Jonathan Coulton. I’m not a programmer, but who can’t related to a song about unrequited love and a soul-killing workplace? Plus, I like Fritos too.
I was also tipped off this morning to the next gem, “I Hate Everyone” by Vinnie the Bitchen Barista. I’m not normally a fan of terribly negative songs, but the joyful video totally makes it fun. The song is so bouncy too. I think it may get me through the next several weeks at work, which are likely to be trying. The language in the song is … well, a tad strong … so don’t blast this at work. And I won’t even tell you which phrase sticks in my head, but I bet you can guess.
I’ve been grooving on a lot of early 80′s Boston, local music lately, like November Group, Face to Face, Adventure Set, Private Lightning, and this seminal Boston band, Berlin Airlift. Songwriter/leader Rick Berlin is a Boston institution, and you can still find him hanging out in Jamaica Plain. This song, “Over the Hill (I Love You)” and Berlin Airlift the band, was so important to this incipient fag when I was solidifying my identity. The songs were clearly coded and from the point of view of a gay man. What a find this video is!