Thursday, January 14, 2016

Fun and Funny Finds on Youtube -- Music

Sometimes, I have much more fun listening to Youtubers than to mainstream music on the radio. Do you ever feel, listening to the radio, that there is a lack of creativity or that certain songs are overplayed? Even when finding covers of those overplayed songs by Youtubers, sometimes, there is an interesting twist in the redo.

This is a list of fun songs by various Youtubers. They are not all humorous, but there are no emotional tearjerker ballads in this list either.

Listening to uplifting music can be beneficial to your emotions and health. There are many legitimate causes of grief, but sometimes our bad moods are, at the root of it, self pity. I am what friends call "laid-back." It's hard for me to tell if I am less emotional than most people or merely stoic, and you would think I would know my own self. I think I may be a combination of both. My emotions tend to be fairly steady, I think, but I also feel more than I appear to feel. Additionally, I work on maintaining my good spirits and attitude. When I see a negative train of thought developing, I try to nip it in the bud. It doesn't help to stew over the discouraging things in life without doing something more proactive. So, I think these music picks are good for your emotional health.

Laughter is also emotionally and physically healthy for you. Here is an interesting article from WebMD that seems to indicate the verse in Proverbs, "Laughter doeth good like a medicine" is more than just a figure of speech.  So, uh, take all of these and, uh, comment me in the morning?

Recently, I came across several Youtubers who made covers of songs according to Google Translate. The song lyrics were put through several layers of Google Translate and then translated back into English with fairly nonsensical results. This version of "In Summer" from Frozen was one of the funniest I've seen. The squeaky quality of his voice, the vacuous look in his eyes at times and the conviction with which he recites and sings these words as if they were actually sensible really makes me laugh. I'd like to add more commentary, but it might spoil things. I'll just say that it gets lyrically better towards the finale.

 Caleb Hyles is an excellent singer who does his own Disney covers and Google Translate nonsense among other musical styles. I tried to find an example where he does both singing and voice impressions, and this version of "Be Prepared" from The Lion King is perfect. Can you have a Disney villain song in a fun list? It is definitely more drama than humor, with a little comic relief from goofy hyenas. As much as I like humor, I like a little drama, which is, perhaps, why I love Dickens so much because he was a master of both and could weave them together into one story. Caleb's performance is so intense that, combined with some special effects he does at the end, I think he could scare little children, so you might want to keep that in mind if you are watching with kids. 

Caleb's videos showed up in my Youtube recommendations and, at first, I thought I had come across him before doing Disney and other cartoon voice impressions. I am sure now that I was confusing him with Brian Hull. I think, if you watch, you can see how I could have confused the two of them. The first comment on this video by Brian Hull is also from Caleb! In this video, he sings "Let It Go" from Frozen in many different Disney and Pixar voices. I especially love the Winnie the Pooh voice. 

I don't have too much to say about this next one, except that it is a ragtime piano version of the Tetris game theme, and how fun is that?

Julien Neel (A Capella Trudbol) is a multi-tracker who is a one-man quartet, but he also does multi-tracking collaborations.  In this example, he is singing with Sonny Vande Putte. Not only do I love the witty lyrics of Cole Porter's "Anything Goes," some of which seem as suitable for today as it would be for the 1930s, I love the facial expressions these guys make when they sing. 

In one more humorous pick, here is Jon Cozart and Dodie Clark singing her own original composition, "An Awkward Duet." Their acting is very convincing.

I left this one for last, the longest piece. Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue is one of my most favorite pieces in the universe. It was written for orchestra with a leading piano part, but I have heard renditions of it for piano only or for several pianists and several pianos. I was amazed when I came across this guitar version, and that this pair was able to make this piece translate so well to guitar.

Years ago, I watched a documentary on Gershwin that explained he was inspired by the rhythm of a train he was riding to Boston when composing Rhapsody in Blue. This is a quote he gave to biographer, Isaac Goldberg.

"It was on the train, with its steely rhythms, its rattle-ty bang, that is so often so stimulating to a composer – I frequently hear music in the very heart of the noise.... And there I suddenly heard, and even saw on paper – the complete construction of the Rhapsody, from beginning to end. No new themes came to me, but I worked on the thematic material already in my mind and tried to conceive the composition as a whole. I heard it as a sort of musical kaleidoscope of America, of our vast melting pot, of our unduplicated national pep, of our metropolitan madness. By the time I reached Boston I had a definite plot of the piece, as distinguished from its actual substance."

In a college poetry writing class, I wrote a poem about Gershwin and this incident in his life. (I wish I had it still, but it seems to be lost.) In a related story, I'm an occasional insomniac, so I have tried various things including instrumental playlists to ease me into sleep. One time, I successfully fell asleep as my playlist was going, and, at some point, Rhapsody in Blue came on. As you will hear, the music builds and builds and crescendos and crescendos -- and in the orchestra version, there are horns -- so all this drama woke me up. I remembered what I was dreaming, and the music had seeped into my dreams. I had been dreaming I was talking to someone about Gershwin and relaying the very story I just told you.