Favourite videos of 2009

I, like millions of others, was taken aback by Susan Boyle’s performance on Britain’s Got Talent, but every time I look at it again I become ashamed. The video suffers from diminishing returns and that contributes to my shame. I watch it now and her voice lacks the power I thought I heard the first time. Also, she misses several notes and struggles with the lower register ones. The video is so clearly manipulated for effect it makes me wonder how I fell for it the first time. I want to be clear: I am happy that Boyle has made a name for herself. After all, she’s not a terrible singer at all. And she’s actually pretty good on the clips I’ve heard from her recent CD. But, in a way, she’s the flip side of the Brittany Spears coin. She’s successful because of her looks. A 30 year old Susan Boyle doesn’t sell 1 million CDs and definitely doesn’t garner 30 million sets of eyes on her Youtube clip.

How’s that for an intro. Anyway, I use that to direct you to an alternative to Britain’s Got Talent and that’s Ukraine’s Got Talent. Rather than sing a standard above average, this woman creates a new world. It’s as if she’s animating a film before our eyes. The shots of the crowd show tears streaming down faces and I suspect they cry for two reasons: 1) they are witnessing a singular creative talent, in a way as ephemeral as singing, but much more creative. 2) The artist creates this world so effectively that eventually the people are absorbed into the story she tells. She reminds them of the horrors of war as she’s dazzling them with the beauty of art. It is a remarkable piece of work. (videos after the jump)

Moving from the sublime towards the ridiculous, here is a mashup of the 25 biggest hits of the year. I don’t regularly listen to top 40 radio so I only know these songs from my trips to Tesco or when “the Archers” come on Radio 4. What strikes me about this video is that either it is a testimony to the talent of the DJ who created the “song” or to the lack of creativity in radio-friendly music. How we must sleepwalk our way through music-listening to result in this list. The video, whatever the case, is a result much much greater than the sum of its parts. (BTW, I also loved the autotune the news videos. Perhaps I would choose some of those instead, if only for the angry gorilla. Because anything with a gorilla…)

A little less sublime and a little more ridiculous is this 70 minute video review of Star Wars: the Phantom Menace. Actually, it’s more of an eviscerating commentary on the disappointing film as told by a schizophrenic off his meds. I think I would like more it if it didn’t cut so much into his personal life, but I couldn’t stop watching it until it was over. Truly weird.

I don’t think the video is from 2009 (looks like it’s from 2006), but every time I watch it I can’t help but laugh, sometimes uncontrollably. Watch for yourself to see if your sense of humour is like mine.

Least favourite video of 2009: Despite the intro to this post, I don’t actually hate the Susan Boyle video, I just think it’s overrated. On the other hand, I hate “David Goes to the Dentist” and I detest the father who thought it was a good idea to post it on Youtube. First of all, it’s not funny. It’s slow and hammy. But mainly, as the father of a pretty hilarious little girl, I cringe to think I would ever exploit her in a drugged up state like this numbnuts. To top it all off, it seems as though he’s trying to capitalise off his son’s vulnerable state by selling t-shirts of him. How was this not a bigger outrage? I hope I never meet this a-hole.

If I think of any more, I’ll post them, but these are the ones that I could think of.


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