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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Literal music videos truly funny

    It happens to the best of us. It’s two in the morning on a Wednesday and that paper is looking oh-so unappealing. You’re prowling the Web and end up on YouTube, the repository for all things funny and stupid. Naturally.

    Next time, watch some literal music videos, one of the best video trends in recent years. The first of its kind — Dustin McLean’s redub of “”Take on Me”” by A-ha — appeared on the scene in late 2008. Within months, dozens of other users created their own literal adaptations.

    In a literal music video, the original lyrics are replaced with lyrics that actually express the video’s visuals, often describing the setting and characters’ actions. So, that random guy in the angel outfit that keeps popping up for no reason … yeah, they’ll make fun of that.

    There are three “”must-sees”” in the literal music video world. As the first of the movement, “”Take on Me,”” set a high bar for followers. The female protagonist falls in love with a comic book character, later plunging into a sketched world. Talk about some amazing (not really) animation.

    With almost seven million views, perhaps the best is David A. Scott’s redub of Bonnie Tyler’s “”Total Eclipse of the Heart.”” The music video’s visually symbolic acrobatics make absolutely no sense, making it a prime target for a literal music video. It’s a montage of random characters (dancing ninjas, toasting yuppies and choir boys with glowing eyes) and blatant motifs (flying doves and red cloths floating in the breeze).

    There’s also a pretty funny version of Tears for Fears’ “”Head over Heels.”” The singer’s voice is strong, perfecting the husky and soaring falsettos. The new lyrics are hilarious, deliberately focusing on the odd images: “”What’s happening with that monkey? / What is with this gas mask? / This is a strange library.””

    ’80s and ’90s music videos are fantastic subjects for satire. As they became the industry norm, artists first had the opportunity to transform their songs into a visual format. The result: a smorgasbord of bad metaphors that nobody understands.

    There are rules to making a good literal music video. First, pick something with a lot of illogical imagery or lots of action. A truly atrocious version of “”You’re Beautiful,”” consisting of a tedious discussion of James Blunt’s facial movements is a good example of what not to do.

    There is also the singing, often the make-or-break point. A good literal music video must mimic the tone and inflections of the original song. A whiny teenager with a voice like shattering glass, regardless of editing skill, is not worth a view.

    Unfortunately, copyright claims from a variety of music groups have shut down most of the videos on the Web, which doesn’t make much sense. How many 30-year-old music videos do people watch these days anyway? It seems like leaving the literal music videos on the Web site would actually increase views of the original, if anything.

    Literal videos are increasing their scope from music videos and onto other subjects. A fantastic example is titled “”Academy Award Winning Movie Trailer,”” created by a duo of young men called BriTANicK. After only three weeks on YouTube, the trailer already has 1.3 million views. Not only is the film editing amazing, but the actors play their generic parts with flair. It is hilarious, pointing out the clichés of trailers, such as including the “”inspiring final lines of a speech that douchebags will quote in their Facebook profiles.”” It’s definitely worth a view. The Onion also has satirized news reports. Again, very funny.

    Now you’re equipped with another weapon when one-upping your friends in the who-knows-the-funniest-video contest. Literal music videos are awkward, comical and just so appropriate. It’s just a shame there aren’t more current videos on the net. Imagine a literal video version to Lady Gaga. Really, any of her music videos would do. That would be epic. Think about it.

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