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TV: Buffy

Song choice: vids that own their songs

Quick note on VividCon: I am still figuring out the best way to find mutually agreeable interview times, but I should be emailing people about that today or tomorrow. (VividCon! Yay!)

And now the real point of this post: Let's talk about vids that own their songs.

Song choice is one of those perennial discussion topics for vidders and vidwatchers (and also the subject of one of my favorite sequences in OTW's documentary series on vidding, where a bunch of fans are asked what makes a good vid and "song choice" is the first response from something like half a dozen people). It's a topic I find fascinating, because a vidder's or viewer's sense of what constitutes a good--or perfect--song choice is profoundly subjective, and so there are song choices about which people strongly disagree, but there are also song choices that produce pretty broad consensus about their awesomeness or appropriateness.

[personal profile] nestra made a post several years back about the difference between good song choice and genius song choice, and [personal profile] sherrold made a comment to that post that has stuck with me ever since, in which she said of [personal profile] astolat's "Uninvited": "I can't hear the song without seeing the vid in my mind's eye."

That comment, for me, captures exactly what it means for a vid to own a song--a phrase that made immediate sense to me the first time I saw people using it. Owning a song is a separate category, at least for me, from good or perfect or genius song choice, and I've been trying to work out what I think the difference is. There are plenty of vids where I think the song choice is terrific or inspired, but I can still think of the song separately from the vid. For a while my working theory was that the distinction has to do with how I first heard the song: if I knew the song before I saw the vid, or had pre-existing associations with the song, the vid was less likely to own that song. But then I remembered "Haunted," [personal profile] flummery's Odyssey 5 vid (which frankly owns EVERYTHING EVER, not just that song); I knew the song before I saw their vid, and in fact I'd already seen a pretty good vid set to that song, but once I saw their version? That was it for me. Whenever I hear that song--when it comes up on shuffle or whatever--I think of their vid. I hear "I will always miss you," and I see the earth blowing up. Similarly, [personal profile] gwyn and [personal profile] feochadn's Charlie Jade vid "I Remember" is set to an R.E.M. song I knew and loved for well over a decade before they vidded it, but once I saw the vid I realized that the song was always about trying to communicate across collapsing universes and I just wasn't smart enough to see it yet. These examples demonstrate that, for me, songs I didn't already know may have an advantage over songs I'm familiar with, but unfamiliarity can't be the full explanation.

But I don't know whether my experience is representative or not! So tell me: Do some vids own songs for you? What's the difference between great song choice and a vid that owns a song? What's it like to listen to a song that's owned by a vid? Do you see specific clips from the vid in your head, or does it just make you think about the characters and the show?

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Comments

I don't know if I can articulate the idea any further but, I do absolutely agree with you on the examples you gave. Those vids definitely own their songs.

I would also add Talitha's "Fireflies."

My current obsesso-vid that I have been watching over and over is Kiki's "We Are All Connected" for SGU. It is beautiful and brilliant and moving but, I can still imagine other ways to use the song. I can imagine other choices that might have been made for each clip and think about why she chose this shot over that shot and how she used movement.

The vids that own their songs are a bit harder to parse that way. They look like they spring into existence as a whole and it is hard to imagine one bit without the other bit.