Saturday, February 26, 2011

YouTube: This Generation's Greatest Distraction

Usually, when attempting to write a post, I will make some kind of an outline in my thinkhatch of how the thing should work.
If I think of something that will require a video, I'll make note of what I need to look up, and do so before I ever start typing up the inane accompanying words.
Even if I just think about using the video, I'll find it before writing the post; rather have it in a window, ready to be embedded into a post than to have to stop what you're doing to find it.
So, tonight, I had in mind to write a post regarding music; nothing in particular, just some random thoughts I was going to attempt to string together, because what else is there to do in this wretched little town?
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I sincerely wish I was kidding. I'm not. Home looks a lot like this.

I have attempted this concept several times over the last few weeks, but nothing has really screamed to be talked about, until the subject matter tonight (more on this later).
I thought to myself, "it's like I keep tripping over this post, and right as I go to do it, I fall on my ass".
POING!
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"Hey, what about that video... aw, it'll be great! I can draw the similarity using my sarcastic wit that nobody but me thinks is funny, and I'll get to use that video! Two birds, one stone, it'll be genius!"
I head off to YouTube, knowing exactly what to type in the little search bar, relishing the thought of finally having a perfect excuse to use this video. Of course, if I couldn't fit it in anywhere, we could just keep it in mind for another time. Feverishly, I begin typing.
Now, here's where we encounter a problem.
As I'm trying to decide which version of the video I want to use, I happen to glance over at the "Related Videos" on the right hand side of the screen.
"Oh, compilation of funny moments? I LOVE those! Cue the Yakety Sax!"
This, in turn triggers video after video of mindless, useless, and, at some point, semi-related/unrelated subject matter.
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Two hours later, I decide that this post has waited long enough to see the light of day, and I must write it while it's still asking to be written.
The video?

Yes. This is the process. Three out of four times, it goes smoothly. That fourth time is an ass-kicker. Or, in the case of Mr. Ross, a belly-buster. May I just say, speaking solely as a fellow skinny person: OW! That must have hurt.


Whether I would have used this video had I not wanted to illustrate the evils of YouTube (TIME, where hast thou gone?) remains to be seen.
Never worry, though, we'll be seeing this video again in the future.

Now, back to the supposed programming. Or, perhaps, a perfectly unplanned segue! Yes, I like that better.
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Reginald Kitty is not amused.

While we were out of town, and Grandy was eating all of our peanut butter...
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I'm not sure why my mother was laughing as I took this picture. Was it because I was taking a picture of an almost empty peanut butter jar, or the fact that I was absentmindedly humming Punky's Dilemma while doing so? You be the judge.

...one of the music videos I had been quietly waiting for was released. Surely, being a fan of their second album/branch offs, I was incredibly curious with how the "new" Panic! At The Disco would handle the loss of Ryan Ross and Jon Walker, and regaining that stupid exclamation mark...


As soon as I had the chance, I headed over to YouTube to find their latest ditty, "The Ballad Of Mona Lisa".
I was greeted with this.

My mother said, and I quote, "he looks evil". Laughter ensued.

Hmmmmm. OK. I was more distracted with the fact that I could identify a steampunk theme than anything (it made me feel so hip!).
BUT WAIT!
Does this latest video not remind anybody of something from this band's past?

Before we go any further, I'm just going to point out how the quality for Internet videos have changed in a few short years. "Mona Lisa" is in widescreen, HD, and all them snazzy bits!
Carry on.


Mmmm-hmmm.
Very, very similar. So similar that I went and looked it up to make sure it was done on purpose.
Mine was, apparently, was the intended reaction.
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Reginald Kitty is still not amused.

As quoted from this MTV article: "When we were talking about the concept, somebody had the idea to kind of tie in to the beginning of the 'Sins' video, and we realized it would work with it," Spencer Smith said.
"It was a nice homage to some of the first stuff that we had done with Shane," Urie added. "And also, for us, mostly, it was closure."


Hmmmm. I'm not so sure I buy the sentimental sap tie-in. It certainly sounds nice to tell a reporter, particularly when you're trying to get back on your feet after band members (one of which was a founding member, no less) fall out.
It happens. That's OK.
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But doesn't it seem a bit strange that with their whole "let's wipe the slate clean!" attitude toward going forth as a duo (oh, see what I inadvertently did there?), they would want something to tie into their past quite so closely?
I don't know about the rest of you, but once I'm finished with something, I'm all for burning it; scatter the ashes, wash your hands, and hope to run some soap through your brain to get the flavor out of your writing projects. (Maybe that last one is just me.) Out of sight, out of mind, right?
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My theory, then, is that there is some hope to regain their original target audience.
After all, that first video won them a VMA, and they had to have done something right with their first album to have been nominated for a Grammy. You can't sell nearly two million records without having some kind of a fan base somewhere, right?
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Of course, there are holes in the theory.
For one thing, six years have passed since that first album (cast your mind back, and we'll prove how long it's been. Tom Cruise finally proves he's psycho by jumping on Oprah's couch, bird flu, Hurricane Katrina, Bush gets a second term, new Pope, Chucky marries Chicken [I said it as I watched live, and I'll say it again... that is one ugly hat], need I go on?) ; there is no guarantee that their original fan base is still interested. We aren't still the fourteen year old market any more than they are the eighteen year olds to deliver the product. (Something else to keep in mind, while we're harking back to the matter of age, is that there are six years of maturity added to this latest song; call it unfair, but there is a certain advantage to it.)
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Note to the wise: if you have pictures like this of yourself, burn them.
Hang on, I think I've seen that hat before...

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Yes, even the photographer must sometimes be photographed. Even wearing her adventure hat.

Heaven knows that if I were still interested in the same things I was six years ago, I would want my head examined; possibly to be put in a sanitarium, left to weave baskets and make things from popsicle sticks, because that's where I'm least likely to hurt myself or society. Since that isn't the case, I just enjoy my insanity.
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Hey, Dean! We found your underwear!

Fan base aside, there is still the major point that these albums were written by different people; this latest effort, of course, by the remaining original members, but the first disc was, for the most part, the brainchild of Ryan Ross.
Video similarities aside, if you listen to the songs by themselves, no imagery in mind, they mirror each other pretty closely, so far as I'm concerned. Now, lyrically, the structure is different, simply because the stylists used their own ears (also, remember the previously discussed age factor).
Something I found interesting as I compared the two was that "I Write Sins, Not Tragedies" does not rely on a rhyming pattern. I know, I looked up the lyrics to each song, and read along, 'cause I'm, apparently, an eighty year old nan.
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If you haven't seen this, go. Now. This drivel can wait, it'll be here when you get back.

Not a rhyme one, not even a slant rhyme. Perhaps that gives the song a unique flavor - though that flavor would be lost on me, since I don't really have an appreciation for that particular sound.
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My mother just said, "that cat looks kind of like David Cassidy does now".
This craziness must be hereditary.


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Maybe not.

Whether one is better than the other is neither here nor there, though "I Write Sins, Not Tragedies" feels like a tidier story, and makes a little more sense to me.
My opinion, though, is not to be asked on such matters; I am predisposed to believe Mr. Ross is a lyrically gifted individual; or, perhaps, just the same brand of crazy I am.
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Another factor to consider is the absence of the musical mind of Jon Walker. Where is the flow? Instead of a melodic odyssey, we are subjected to a cacophony of tinny guitar and brash cymbals.
I suppose that, if the original, debut sound from Panic! At The Disco was your "thing", this third album is going to be right up your street.
If, however, the "sans punctuation mark" material is more to your liking (imagine me flapping my hand in the air and bouncing on the balls of my feet), and the later efforts of those ballsy enough to leave a well established name to produce what they wanted (I told you, I'm biased)...

60's style musicians and Apple products? Somebody tie me down!

...perhaps you should keep looking.
For now, stick an umbrella in your Orange Squash and go watch Pirate Radio. It does a person good.

Be it ever so humble, there's no place like Radio Rock!

By the way, if you're curious as to where I ended up after two hours...

Never seen American Gothic? Seriously? Under what rock had they previously been living? Or, like my mother said, "even I've seen that! It's on cereal commercials!"

My mother is a bevvy of information. Crazy, but knowledgeable about such things.

Is It A Subscription Box, Or Something More Sinister? (It's A Subscription Box. Maybe.)