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The Best of 2008, 2: Web Video and Music

December 31st, 2008 | Jonathan Gray

Continuing with my Best Of 2008:

Web Video

10. “Too Drunk to Fuck.” I had my vid watching orgy in late 2007, but one of Luminosity’s 2008 offerings helps explain visually why Family Guy will never rival The Simpsons: Lisa and Marge are just so much better than FG‘s women.

9. “Talk to Your Parents About Voting Republican.” I’ve already posted about this, in the context of its political message, but I’m also a fan of its parodic attack on the earnestness of Talk to Your Kids videos that assume older people know better.

8. “Piece of Me.” Obsessive24’s vid about Britney Spears is excellent, and a 3m21 essay on celebrity exploitation and obsession.

7. Fox News Calls Ohio. I saw this after the fact, but it’s a sweet moment, as Brit Hume and Karl Rove see the writing on the wall, and Lurch delivers the news to the bald master of evil.

6. “Yes We Can.” Will.i.am’s video defined viral, and though I still laugh at its inclusion of some pretty C rate celebs (“hey look, there’s Ashley from Fresh Prince of Bel Air!”), it laid down a gauntlet to Obama’s contenders that they’d have to deliver online. They didn’t, and they lost.

More after the fold …


5. Obama Rick-Rolls McCain. Very funny, and taking full advantage of the horrible blue-screen invitation to create mischief that lay behind McCain at the Republican Convention. Rick Astley’s Rick Rolling of the Macy’s Parade on Thanksgiving was masterful (kudos, Cartoon Network), but this one is the funniest in the genre.

4. Dr. Horrible’s Sing-a-long Blog. I hope hope hope that other writers follow in Whedon’s footsteps and experiment with web-distributed video. It took a long time till I finally watched it, and I already loved it in concept, but it bears out in actuality too, a funny and amusing piece of work.

3. Tina Fey’s Sarah Palin. I could perhaps fill the list with the various iterations, but suffice it to say that I thought this was great satire, something that SNL is usually woefully inept at producing. Not only did it undoubtedly hurt Palin, but it undoubtedly helped keep 30 Rock alive. See my post about it here.

2. Obama’s Race Speech. Speeches are meant to be watched with others in theory, but I read about this one online just as it had finished, and before the reviews started pouring in. So I clicked, and started watching. Web video is, in theory, meant to be about 1-3 mins to be successful, and yet I kept watching. This was the moment that I truly drank Obama’s Kool-Aid, as he and I sat in solitary congress, and, as Jon Stewart pointed out that evening, finally an American politician talked to the public about race as if we were adults. I found it electrifying, and exciting.

1. The Onion News Network. Before The Daily Show or The Colbert Report, there was The Onion. And now, with the Onion News Network, the world of satire is all the more plentiful. I can’t list a single clip as worthy, so instead here’s a top 10:

10. Dominos scientists test the limits of what kind of crap people will eat on their pizza
9. A discussion about the “situation” in Nigeria
8. The strong women in TV awards
7. Nation of Andorra revealed not to be in Africa
6. Young girl sells cookies to fund her own attack ad
5. Bullshit revealed to be the most important issue to voters
4. Cressbeckler steals votes from John McCain
3. Iron Man trailer to be made into a feature length film (see my post on this here)
2. Latest poll reveals 430 new demographics
1. Supreme Court upholds the death penalty on the grounds that it’s totally bad-ass. I love how this clip takes the rhetoric of action film bravado and shows that it’s the “logic” behind the case for the death penalty. And the comic delivery of both announcers is spot on.

Music

This is a hard category, since I’m pretty much coasting on the music I’ve known and loved for a while, yet the list requires new material. So it’s an odd list, not wholly reflective of my tastes as much as it is reflective of what stuck this year

10. “Deewangi Deewangi.” I went to two Eurasian weddings in 2008, and this song was a total hit at both. The lyrics are totally naff (“all the cool boys, come on make some noise, and say Om Shanti Om”), but it’s wonderfully infectious
9. Adele. British singer-songwriter. I recently discovered that I don’t like listening to her while trying to park or get directions (it’s something about the whine in the voice), but otherwise I like her stuff
8. “Pocketful of Sunshine” by Natasha Bedingfield. Guilty pleasure. Very guilty
7. “It’s Time for War” by LL Cool J. I’ve joked in the past about how 50% of rap songs seem to be about being counted out, yet still being in the game, and this one is no exception. But it’s catchy, and a good song to sing in the head as one turns on the PS3
6. “Bruises,” by Chairlift. Apple ads really do stick in the head.
5. “Unnikondera Chani?” by K’Millian. This song was absolutely everywhere when I was in Malawi, and so it quickly became a summer anthem.
4. Vampire Weekend. Music stores don’t usually have a College Music section, but Vampire Weekend is exactly that (as were They Might Be Giants in an earlier age). Neat mix of sounds. Warm feeling
3. The Flight of the Conchords soundtrack. “You’re so beautiful, you could be a part-time model,” and (as a spot-on parody of the Pet Shop Boys) “The manager, Bevin, tries to abuse me, / Hey man, I just want some muesli” are the lyrics of parodic genius. Good show too
2. The Black Missionaries. A Malawian reggae group that really should be more famous overseas than they are
1. Regina Spektor. Lim’s vid “Us” introduced me to Spektor last year, but I really started exploring her other stuff this year

More later, with the extratextual categories still to come …

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