I spend more time than I’d like to admit watching music videos on YouTube. I especially like finding ones that catch my eye and ear despite falling outside conventional music industry formats. Following are 5 I come back to regularly for musical entertainment and to renew my faith in the human capacity to create joy from thin air.
1. “A Day at the Office”
I suspect the people in this video aren’t as amateur as they appear to be. Their lip-synching choreography to the Backstreet Boys’ “I Want it That Way” is so adept that I have to think they at least have some professional media training. Nevertheless, this is so exulting that you’ll be hard-pressed to stay in your seat while it’s playing.
2. “Something Fine”
As music production gets ever more synthetic, it becomes a greater and greater treat to hear someone getting back to basics. Here’s just a guy playing a guitar in his modest studio, and I get a little misty eyed every time I see this. The guy is Jackson Browne, the guitar is a vintage Gibson Roy Smeck Stage Deluxe, and the song, “Something Fine,” from the great singer/songwriter’s 1972 debut album, sounds just as fine 41 years later.
3. “Call Me Maybe” (dressing room version)
If you heard Carly Rae Jepsen’s 2011 mega-hit “Call Me Maybe,” you heard it a million times. For a while there, you couldn’t swing a (proverbial, of course) cat around by the tail without hitting a speaker from which was emanating that pop phenomenon. But here’s all it takes to convert a unit-shifting commercial vehicle into an irresistibly homey sing-along: NBC Late Night talk show host Jimmy Fallon, his house band (the fabulous Roots), a dressing room full of kindergarten instruments, and Jepsen singing the song like it was brand new.
4. “Nothing But a Miracle”
If I had the residuals from the Hall & Oates back catalog, I’d do exactly what Daryl Hall did: restore a couple of adjoining historic houses, build a big music room in the middle, and invite every cool musician I could think of to jam with me and my buddies. And then I’d put it on the Internet, and later on the Palladia cable TV channel. The show is called “Live From Daryl’s House,” and every episode demonstrates that Hall is not only an extraordinary singer, musician, and songwriter, but someone who loves music for its own sake. He has hosted legendary performers (Smokey Robinson, Jose Feliciano) as well as lesser-known artists from all generations and genres. This video is from an episode featuring supremely talented singer/songwriter/pianist Diane Birch, performing one of her songs with Daryl and friends.
5. “Wait Up” (Boots of Danger)
This is the official video of Tokyo Police Club’s “Wait Up (Boots of Danger),” so it’s more polished than those above. But the concept couldn’t be more down-to-earth: while a young band practices in the room behind their garage, the neighborhood dogs gather for an impromptu swimming pool party. If you like catchy Canadian pop/rock, swimming pools and dogs, you’ll be wagging your tail by the end of this.