Jonathan Coulton is a folk-rock singer-songwriter who encourages people to make videos for his songs. Many collaborators have begun to set the tunes to slideshows of public Flickr photos available under a Creative Commons license. In "Over There," a jokey miserable song about intercontinental travel ("Don't make me go over there"), we see dozens of very literal visual representations of the lyrics. Over a line about taking a train from Amsterdam we see an Amsterdam train station. Coulton croons about eating an Italian meatball and hey, there's one on some Flickring shutterbug's plate. But although the music and the photos and the combination of music and photos aren't really spectacular by themselves, the idea of this kind of collaboration between strangers gets me all excited, and thus you are reading about it now. Knowing that that shot of Brooklyn Lager was taken by someone just like me--I'm the sort of person who takes shots like that and posts them to Flickr, see below--and edited into a YouTube video seen by a thousand people makes me feel like I'm part of something good. That's how I'm feeling today.
More Coulton on YouTube:
IKEA, a They Might Be Giants-style celebration of the place your tables and chair once called home. This is my other favorite of these. "Billy the bookcase says hello/So does a table whose name is Ingo/And a chair is a ladderback birch but his friends call him Karl." An anthem for bourgeois bohemians.
Flickr.mov, the one that got it all started. A bit sincere for my taste but the images in this one are really well chosen.
The Presidents is a dorky list song. "McKinley kicked the Spanish out of Cuba/Roosevelt was handy with a gun/Taft was big and fat and had a mustache/Wilson kicked some ass in World War One."
Mr. Fancy Pants (flash) is the goofiest. It's about fancy pants.
In other online video news, some people think it's all a big waste of time. Check out the hysterical comments to Virginia Heffernan's blog entry about the big lonelygirl reveal.