ARE YOUTUBE COVER VIDEOS GOOD OR BAD FOR MUSIC?? (PLUS: A CHICK SHREDDING)
Invisible Oranges’ Cosmo Lee posted another YouTube video of a chick shredding yesterday ’cause he’s a smart man and knows that videos/pictures/posts of chicks having anything to do with metal fetch lots of comments and spark controversy from our male-driven Interhole portals. This chick is hella talented — in all my years of making a serious go of being in bands I never got to that level of dexterity — but the best part about this video is obviously her mom making the bed in the background. A+++ would do business with again! But then Cosmo takes a swipe at The Faceless, whose song “Meghan The Metal Queen” is covering in the vid, and you know that ain’t gonna go over well with yer Uncles Vince and Axl:
Evidently the song she is covering is The Faceless’ “Prison Born”, which is new to me, and hopefully will remain that way forever.
But holy moly, do the kids love that song. On YouTube, they’re covering it on guitar, bass, drums, and vocals. Actually, they’re covering pretty much every technical death metal band on guitar, bass, drums, and vocals. I kind of want these kids to get off YouTube and to form bands with actual people. But then they’ll probably just form more technical death metal bands, which would just spawn even more YouTube videos, until YouTube becomes an incomprehensible mush of sweep picking and blastbeats. Remember when metal bands wrote songs?
Them’s is fightin’ words.
Come onnnnnn. Now you’re just being old, Cosmo! The hoardes of technical death metal bands flooding MySpace and YouTube are definitely annoying, something we’ve even complained about here at MetalSucks lately. But writing off a whole sub-genre is the equivalent of saying “kids these days…” as you sit on your front porch rocking back and forth with a cigar dangling out of your mouth and a glass of whiskey in hand. Not only are The Faceless pioneers of modern progressive death metal, but they happen to be really fucking good at it; there’s a reason so many kids are covering their songs on YouTube. Cosmo, I challenge you to listen to Planetary Duality and let us know what you think; if you still hate The Faceless, aight, but at least give it a listen.
But the individual band at hand is kind of besides the point; I’m more concerned that Cosmo is writing off the YouTube cover masses. I think YouTube is an INCREDIBLE tool for kids to hone their chops, show them to the world and get feedback. Many of them are already or will go on to form actual bands that actually play together in a real, live garage, basement or bedroom; many of those bands will suck, and a few will be good, even great. YouTube is just the new version of the newspaper classified ad or flyer posted up at the guitar store, and in many ways when it comes to music it’s even the new Craigslist for the youngest generation. Except it’s better than any of those things because it allows people to instantly connect. There’s a vibrant community of musicians that’s unfolding before our eyes. I get the point that if it’s all “an incomprehensible mush of sweep picking and blastbeats” then those skills lose meaning, but the net effect is that it’s no longer just enough to be able to do those things. Sure, anyone can post a YouTube video, but who goes beyond that? Only the people with actual songwriting skills, of course. Just like always, nature has a way of sorting the bad from the good… the fans will decide, just like they are now by rejecting the seemingly endless flow of same-sounding technical death metal bands. It’s the same as it ever was, only with better technology.