the youtube adventures

Today I'm going to talk about youtube. Not the twisted videos that people post of themselves,their friends, and their family members doing stupid,crazy,and ridiculous things that gives them instant fame overnight but youtube as a music source. Ever since youtube became popular I've had an addiction to looking up bands and singers that I like and watching them live. The twisted videos of regular people doing stupid things are a cry for attention and expose a dark and messed up side of our culture that craves fame and attention from large amounts of people at once. By far the best artistic representation of the youtube attention whore (sorry if I offended anyone but that's the best term I could find to prove my point) was this play that went on at the Summerworks theatre festival. I'm blanking on the title but I can remember what it was about. It was a performance art piece about a lonely college student whose loneliness blows out of proportion that turns to youtube video blogging as a place to vent about herself and let off steam. It never gets better in fact it gets worse because her whole life is consumed by the blogsphere. That play is a perfect representation of the kind of people that make those videos and is a perfect example of why it is a problematic medium. Tosh.o is a whole show dedicated to the silliness of those types of videos and the appeal of it really is the fact that someone has attempted to make comedy out of all the crazy and stupid things that have been captured on video that people have let be seen all over the world, online. Truthfully I'm a sucker for one of them: It's a video of a little girl's perspective on kids toys in today's society. She believes that toymakers should stop forcing pink toys on little girls. A part of me thinks it's mind-blowing that a kid that young would be so darn insightful and a part of me thinks she's just plain adorable. Blame the fact that I've been working with kids since my early teens and don't mind them even if they can occasionally get up to no good. This video is a refreshing perspective because it's good to know that there are young children out there that are this insightful, even if the subject is toys. Why this is an exception is to those uncomfortably personal home videos that people like allowing the whole world to see via youtube is that this is one of the only young children (or people in general) that doesn't end up getting attention for making a fool of themselves and letting the whole world see their idiotic moments it is a moment of brilliant insight captured on film. Trust me on this because I've seen enough of these types of videos thanks to several different friends that spend plenty of time searching things on youtube that share their findings with me and at this point, thanks to them I've seen a lot of these types of videos. According to the video's title this little girl's name is Riley. I don't know her personally. This is the little girl that is sending out a message about toys that I was talking about:
Now that you have heard Riley's perspective on toys let's get back on topic. Music...right...music! One of the really cool things about youtube is that there's so much on it that, if you don't find what your looking for you'll at least find something that resembles what your looking for that's close enough. The range of music you can find on youtube is so immense that, when searching for music it's pretty rare that it's not there. In my youtube adventures I've managed to find everything from popular bands to bands signed to indie labels and, I've found music from as far back as the 1950s. Recently I had the best night ever looking up Nina Simone: a powerful soul singer from the 1950s. She may of died long before I was born but there's something ageless and powerful about her music that never gets old no matter what. She's got this feisty, powerful singing voice,she can belt a tune brilliantly, and delivers each word with a goose- bump inducing, intense levels of emotion. The first time I discovered her music I spent many nights with no sound except two of her heart-wrenching love songs "Wild Is the Wind" and "Black Is The Colour Of My True Love's Hair" while sitting perfectly still and ever since then it's never stopped. In her time she mastered each and every performance so, every time I watch them online I envy the people who got the chance to see her live in person but, the cool thing about youtube and a performer as skilled as Nina is that when I watch those videos online I feel like I'm there. I'm endlessly thankful for the people who captured her performances on film and posted them online. Here's a clip of her cover of "I put a spell on you". I frequently listen to both her cover and the cover by She&Him and although Zooey Dechanel has a great voice no one can top the emotional power of Nina Simone:


 Another great discovery this week has been new music by Perfume Genius. I have a copy of their debut album, Learning and it is a stunning collection of piano melodies all about working through your differences and embracing them. Two of their songs showed up on Take Away Shows, an online film series all about working with fantastic musicians to capture intimate performances in unexpected places. Their new music seems less about facing those pains and assuring people that it's okay and more about looking at pain from a point of view of experience and being strong about it. This clip took place in a small room with just the lead singer singing and playing the piano with only one other person (I'm not sure if they're a friend, family member, or fellow bandmate) standing by in the background. One of the highlights was there latest song "Dark Parts", a down to earth and earnest ballad that mirrors the first song I ever heard by them because of the subject matter:accepting things for what they are. There's one other take away session Perfume Genius video and it's called "Hoods/Normal Song". It's worth checking out for the same reasons: the lead singers soft and chilling way of drawing you into his music.
Youtube has changed the way that we, as listeners listen to music and the way musicians can share music. It's cool that everything is just so accessible now and the great thing is, it's so easy to promote yourself and I guess that's why there's people that use this service to post views that label them as "attention whores". It's great for music and anyone with any kind of show because within seconds your audience can go from virtually no one to more than you can possibly count on your fingers. This concludes the findings and highlights of my youtube adventures. I hope you've enjoyed my findings.