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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Art is Dead

I used to post a "YouTube Picks of the Week", but that got kind of old, pretty quick. I've finally found one worth posting again, though it's not quite filmmaking at it's best.

I'm sure I've posted at least one video by Bo Burnham, and while his brilliant wordplay makes him, in my opinion, one of the greatest wordsmiths of our generation, he released a song on his newest album called "Art is Dead". It's not really anything to do with movies, but Burnham started on YouTube, and he's making his way to the silver screens soon enough, so just suck it up and deal with it while I talk about this song. K? K.

"Art is Dead" is a song that appears towards the end of his newest album. It's not at the beginning for a reason, and it's not the final song for a reason, but it's right near the end for a reason. "Art is Dead" is not your typical lyrical tour-de-force that Burnham specializes in, there's not a single sex joke in it, it's not a rap, and it certainly doesn't attempt to be very funny. "Art is Dead" is something that I haven't heard or seen in a young comedian (not to mention that Burnham might be the youngest popular comedian around) maybe ever. I've seen Lewis Back touch on it, and I've heard Bill Cosby close with it.

"Art is Dead" is a song about reflection. A legitimate reflection of art, desire, and the emotions connected to achieving both. What Ricky Gervais achieves in his entire series Extras, Burnham almost completely achieves in this tiny little song. The final lines literally haunt me.

The song may hit me hard for any number of reasons. Perhaps it's because I know firsthand what it's like to look in on the world Burnham sings about here. Perhaps it's because Burnham and I share the same dream, and perhaps it's because Burnham has achieved it, and I haven't, and perhaps it's because Burnham did in fact achieve it, just like so many, but unlike so many he's not forgotten who he is, and what he really believes in, or perhaps it's just a catchy tune.

The song could strike anyone for any purpose for any number of reasons. The point here is not why the song was written, or what the song was written about, or what, in writing it, Burnham truly wants to express. The point here is that it was written.

And that, that right there, is what takes him one step above being "just a kid".

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