Last week I spotted a video from a band I’d never heard of, doing a cover version of a song by another band I’d never heard of. I don’t even remember where I saw it, but I followed it to Youtube and found it charming enough to post on my Facebook page. Next thing I know, all my friends think I’m cool, hip, and influential (or so I surmise) and the band has become a sensation.
They’re called Walk Off The Earth, and they’ve recently appeared on Ellen; they’re being played on WFUV, New York’s oh-so-hip-and-influential radio station (90.7 FM), and the video has 38,537,979 views. That’s a lot. (Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies” has 159,927,25, but that’s a number 1 international hit that’s been out for a couple of years.)
So how did they do it? A great song full of more hooks than a tacklebox; a pleasant-looking group of young people with three strong voices and excellent harmonies; and a tricky little performance gimmick that requires no special effects whatsoever. To me, it’s just catchy, fun, and a little bit hypnotic too; just the kind of thing you want to show to your friends.
I’m going to endeavor to keep this in mind. There is just no substitute for a clever idea that is skillfully executed.