Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Off topic: Literal Music Videos

I wondered where this idea came from because it's so clever and I appreciate clever ideas. Recently I chanced upon a television interview with Dustin McLean the young man who began the literal music video phenomenon. In short, a literal music video is a parody of an official music video clip where the lyrics are replaced with lyrics that describe the visuals in the video. You might recall one or two that we've posted on ILSA.

Turns out McLean writes the new lyrics himself and does most of the singing as well and stresses that he pays meticulous attention to getting the sound and timing right. Indeed, if you turn down the volume slightly, you cannot tell the difference between the real one and the fake version.

Also, he picks mainly videos from the 1980s and 1990s because this was the era when music videos took off and the visuals seem disconnected from the lyrics. Now that I see them again, I see what he means. Back then the makers of the music videos were more concerned with impressive visuals than actual meaning.

McLean's first video was A-ha's "Take on Me" in October 2008. McLean worked on the animated SuperNews! show on Current TV and he says the idea came about from an inside joke with his fellow workers and that two of his co-workers along with his wife helped to provide the new vocal lyrics.

While not all such attempts are successful, some of the better quality videos, such as the ones for "Take on Me" and "Total Eclipse of the Heart" have seen millions of views on YouTube and have created a brief resurgence of the original song in the popular culture. If you have broadband, this is good comic relief.

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