#2. Jimmy Fallon and the Roots and Children and CHRISTMAS!
Anyone who knows me knows that as soon as Thanksgiving hits, I listen to Christmas music. I don't just mean that I'll occasionally throw some on to cheer myself up, I mean that I listen exclusively to Christmas music. Nothing else even gets a consideration. All Christmas, all day, everywhere. There's a radio station in LA that plays nonstop Christmas music, and when I'm out of my car, I put on Pandora's Vince Guaraldi Trio [Holiday] station. By the time Christmas rolls around, I will have listened to every Christmas song ever recorded about a dozen times each.
And I will love every fucking second of it.
I've done this for years. I'm not doing it ironically, or to annoy anyone who happens to pass by my desk. I do it because I love Christmas, because I am a child. And no one captures my childlike love of Christmas music better than Jimmy Fallon featuring the Roots, Mariah Carey and some children:
They perform a cover of Carey's "All I Want for Christmas" (it's in my top ten), except everyone plays classroom instruments (kazoos, tiny xylophones and so on). I can't watch this video without smiling. LOOK AT HOW MUCH FUN ?UESTLOVE IS HAVING!
If that wasn't magical enough, occasionally children will pop up out of nowhere to join in, before disappearing off camera again.
Do those kids need to know that their backing band is the Roots, whose track list includes songs like "Pussy Galore" and whose music videos feature Black Thought dousing a tied-up man in gasoline? No. Those kids never need to know that, and they never will, because you and I are never going to tell them. As far as those kids are concerned, Black Thought is playing tambourine in the Jimmy Fallon Fun House Family Band, and that's it.
#1. Billy Joel, Hahaha, Oh Man, You Guys, Watch This Video
The music video for Billy Joel's "Uptown Girl" is, without question, my favorite thing in the world.
Here is the thing about Billy Joel: He is a terrific singer/songwriter who should just sing his songs about blue-collar working-class types from behind the safety of his piano. He's a storyteller, painting word pictures, and so on.
Here's the other thing about Billy Joel: It took him a very long time to figure that out.
That's how this video happened. That's why Billy Joel, a man who should just be able to let his music speak for itself, made a bunch of weird decisions for a while. Billy Joel music videos should just be Joel, on a stage, with his band, singing their songs. Instead, they made concept videos, and Joel had to put on a costume and learn a bunch of stupid fucking choreography, even though he absolutely cannot dance, and turn "Uptown Girl" into a mini musical, complete with backup dancers and some kind of implied storyline about car mechanics who like giant, Amazon women.
Billy Joel dancing is one of the most adorably embarrassing things on the Internet. You can tell that he's struggling, and you can practically see that he's counting his steps while he moves, desperately trying to remember the choreography.
Why are you so angry?
The guys in the background, all fit, tall, professional dancers, dance circles around Joel and only emphasize how out of his league he is.
Someone in the background is juggling and Joel is clearly reading the choreography somewhere off screen.
The director must have decided to go with a bunch of wide shots because close-ups of Billy Joel made everyone too uncomfortable.
"One and two and 'UPTOWN GIRL' and one and two and ..."
This video is important as a musical time capsule. It tells us that, at some point, the marketing team behind Billy Joel's label tried to sell Joel as a leading-man, sex-symbol type. "Hey, that Mick Jagger sure seems to sell a lot of records with his sexiness and theatricality; that's the ticket! Joel, you're no longer the emotional singer/songwriter; from now on, you're the sex frontman!"
"Make sure you get Billy's crotch and the word 'GAS' in the shot. Perfect."
Pictures don't do this video justice. You really need to watch it to get exactly how awkward it is. But let's look at some pictures anyway.
Those two black break dancing youths showed up two and a half minutes into the video and their presence is never explained.
The video ends with Joel and his uptown girl leaving on a motorcycle ...
... which is fine for a happy ending, but as far as narrative structure goes, it's sort of idiotic. I mean, that woman came to this auto repair shop because she was having car trouble. That's still true, and the fact that the repair shop's lead mechanic leaves town isn't going to help matters. Clearly his leadership is needed; as soon as he leaves, his co-mechanics get into a fancy formation and just go dance crazy for a while. Someone has to fix that car, Billy.
Anyway, this is my favorite professional music video of all time.
Daniel O'Brien is Cracked.com's senior writer (ladies) and is planning an "Uptown Girl" flash mob (Billy Joel).