Diablo’s YouTube Obsessions
First, a breathless update to a recent column: It may have been the Backstreet Boys who crooned ”Quit Playin’ Games (With My Heart),” but New Kids on the Block turned out to be the real players. Mere weeks after coyly dismissing the rumors, NKOTB have announced plans to reunite and tour. Sly dogs! Look forward to the eventual breathless concert review from yours truly. I hope they still sell individual-portrait pillowcases at the merch booth; it’s been way too long since I drooled on Joe’s face.
I can’t help but imagine the Kids prepping for the big comeback. Maybe there’s intensive training at an undisclosed location — an NKOTB boot camp, if you will. I picture Donnie doing chin-ups, Jordan wolfing high-protein snacks to spur rat-tail regrowth, and Joey donning constrictive underwear so he can hit the high notes on ”Popsicle.” Blockheads: Watch this space for further updates. Soon, we shall assemble!
And now, let’s move on: South Park recently goofed on various YouTube celebrities. Cyber-icons like Tay ”Chocolate Rain” Zonday and the Star Wars kid were gathered in a Stoppard-esque waiting room. Predictably — delightfully — the scene culminated in a bloody melee. This got me thinking about my own favorite ‘Tube indulgences. Some are better known than others, but all are ideal for vacuous late-night entertainment.
1. ”WHISTLE TIPS” (youtube.com/watch?v=Nnzw_i4YmKk)
This much-viewed Bay Area news clip explores the popularity of the ”whistle tip” — a car accessory that creates a pointless but awesome whistling sound upon acceleration. The real stars of this clip are ”Bubb Rubb” and ”Little Sis,” two whistle-tip enthusiasts who think their neighbors ought to stop complaining. Personally, I agree. Rubb and Sis are a latter-day Bonnie and Clyde, ducking the law, blowing a stop sign on camera, and whistling blithely at The Man. Whoo whoo!
2. ”ROJO CALIENTE” (youtube.com/watch?v=0EgmUKgLL44)
Meagan Taylor is a 19-year-old Canadian college student who spent a year in Panama and inexplicably decided to record her own reggaeton single. The result is ”Rojo Caliente,” a hypnotic paean to hot sauce, Rolex watches, and fine leather goods. Some have criticized the song for being soulless and/or tuneless, but I think Meagan’s flat affect recalls Lou Reed’s best work. Fun fact: The song was intended as a redhead-empowerment anthem; Meagan’s official website says that she ”agonized” over her flaming hair and fair skin as a youngster. Like many marginalized artists before her, Meagan has channeled that pain into her work, creating a surprisingly poignant club banger.
3. ”MEXICAN CAT DANCE” (youtube.com/watch?v=szqoIB52ij8)
This sublime 15-second clip features Pork Chop, a comically obese tabby cat, wearing (and ultimately rejecting) a tiny sombrero. No, seriously, that’s it. And I have logged over 50 views of this video. Fifty views. By me. Alone.
4. ”CHRISTIAN THE LION — REUNION!” (youtube.com/watch?v=Xr1pWzoLvT8)
I can’t write about this clip without getting estrogen-groggy: Christian, an adult lion, is reunited with two ’70s-looking dudes named John and Ace who raised him as a cub. Christian immediately recognizes his human buds, then barrels toward them for a series of joyous ”hugs.” I personally would be hesitant to embrace a 300-pound, impulse-driven carnivore with no ability to reason, but this clip enables me to do so vicariously. Cuddlepies!
5. ”FLEETWOOD MAC — SILVER SPRINGS LIVE” (youtube.com/watch?v=Pi5op_zOqzg)
Viewing this performance from the Mac’s 1997 reunion tour is like eavesdropping on an embarrassingly intimate lovers’ quarrel. Watch through your fingers as Mommy and Daddy (a.k.a. Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham) purge two decades’ worth of relationship demons in front of a paying audience. Even though these fightin’ words are purely lyrical, Stevie’s accusing gaze and Lindsey’s defensive stance tell us everything we need to know. ”I’ll follow you down till the sound of my voice will haunt you,” Stevie rasped way back in 1976. Who knew she’d be right?
6. ”CARRY ON WAYWARD SON” (youtube.com/watch?v=9pS5xzOWbwo)
No YouTube list is complete without a precocious kidvid. This clip of a preteen Asian keyboard prodigy is blowing minds everywhere with her note-perfect rendition of Kansas’ hit. (My childhood Casio-tone version of ”Axel F” wasn’t quite as impressive.) Memo to parents: If your child is a genius and you haven’t uploaded the evidence, how are we supposed to believe you?
So there’s a comprehensive list of what’s eating my brain lately. YouTube binges may be anti-productive, but they sure are fun. Time will tell if these clips will endure — is ”Dramatic Gopher” the Zapruder film of 2012? — but for now, these zeitgeisty morsels are mighty satisfying.