Sunday, May 29, 2011


I just barely watched this and absolutely had to share it with others. Like many cool and fascinating items, I learned about this from Twitter. Sure, I would have been bound to come across it sooner or later, but getting it sooner (it was posted on Thursday) and the source from which it comes ought to be noteworthy. If you want to know some stellar folks to "Follow," I have a few recommendations. I learned of this music video from Roger Ebert who Tweeted: "The greatest music video ever made. All done with a single uninterrupted shot. .

It certainly is done with a "single uninterrupted shot" and it just might be the "greatest music video ever made." The city of Grand Rapids (in Michigan) has come together in a big way: they have done a lip dub to "American Pie" by Don McClean and apparently set a new World Record in the process.

It may help to have a basic understanding of the recent single-shot lip-dub craze... In November of 2009, the students of Shorecrest High School in Shoreline, Washington made an impressive lip dub of "Hey Ya!" by OutKast. It was a single take and featured myriad "faces in the hall." A month later, Shorewood High School (Shorecrest's rival in Shoreline) responded with a longer lip dub of "You Make My Dreams Come True" by Hall & Oates (recently made popular by the film "(500) Days of Summer"). What made it all the more impressive was that the entire thing was done backwards! The local news was sure to cover the story at that time. Other schools have produceed their own versions. I have not been following that scene as of late, but I will be looking into it because of this. "The Office," always ready to dissect memes of the day, began the Season 7 premier with one of their own lip dubs. (I apologize for the shoddy quality. If I find a better one, I will certainly replace it.) The group OK Go also deserves to be mentioned. While the songs are their own, they have certainly popularized the single-shot music video, often done with a homemade vibe about them.

Now back to the latest and greatest! "The Grand Rapids Lip Dub" (as it will be known) was not made by a school, but by the city itself. 5,000 people were involved for the nearly 9-minute extravaganza on a budget of $40,000. The music video was filmed just last week on May 22nd. (You see, these types of projects require very little editing.) Besides setting a World Record, the city was making a statement. Rob Bliss, the director and executive producer of the project, surely says it best, "This video was created as an official response to the Newsweek article calling Grand Rapids a 'dying city.' We disagreed strongly, and wanted to create a video that encompasses the passion and energy we all feel is growing exponentially, in this great city. We felt Don McLean's "American Pie," a song about death, was in the end, triumphant and filled to the brim with life and hope." 

suppose we have whoever wrote said Newsweek article to thank.

As Rob Bliss (a fitting name for the man who would produce such a celebratory video) discussed, "American Pie" is a significant song, I'd argue one of the best in our nation's history. It is an anthem of the 20th Century, a tribute to men and women who rock. A reverent text that remains open to interpretation while still surely alluding to some certainties. Don McLean's worship of God and honor of men. Music speaks to our souls.

I did not know the story behind the production when I watched it just now (that realization came with writing this post), but I was still greatly affected by it. This is officially the first lip dub to bring tears to my eyes. They were tears of joy really, an appreciation of the human race as represented by the citizens of this conurbation. I did not know their cause, but could see in the countenances an honest and heartfelt effort. Thank God for it. There is so much good in this world! People joining together in a creative and constructive concept. There is glee and triumph here. A jubilation of group achievement and a healthy pride for their beautiful city! Oh, how I love people! Oh, what a way to sell your town! Do you know the breed of laughter that comes from joviality? Not because there is humor, but because there is a poised happiness. I just experienced that. My smile stretched and it felt refined. I love people.

Watching this I wondered how on earth they did it. What a tremendous undertaking! I also wondered how anyone can top this. Then I wondered if I should move to Grand Rapids, Michigan tomorrow.

I have the people of that city to thank.

1 comment:

  1. I loved this video. Now I want to Grand Rapids too! Great song choice. I also thought the two rival high school videos were amazing as well when I saw them. People are capable of doing so much good!