Saturday, October 3, 2009

Music Video Collection

I've already told the Dave Matthews story, so no need to rehash that or repost the video here. But over the last few years, I've played around a lot with setting Looney Tunes to music. My method is pretty simple: I download the cartoons from Youtube or elsewhere, and then take snippets from them and arrange them to an Mp3 of a song using Windows Movie Maker.

It doesn't work with every song. There are songs that sound like they might work, but turn out to be completely wrong. Songs with long, meandering musical jams tend not to work, because I've found that the key to making one of these videos is being able to match a piece of animation to what the singer is portraying lyrically. From the beginning, animation and music have been closely linked. Early cartoons, especially those of Disney and Warner Bros., were timed to music, with the action plotted out on musical bar sheets. Disney's "Silly Symphonies", MGM's "Happy Harmonies", and Warner Bros.' "Looney Tunes" and "Merrie Melodies" were so titled because they were originally mini-musicals. A whole cartoon, including plot, characters and situation would often be based on the title or lyrics of a popular song. So the animation often translates quite well even to modern songs, because the timing of the action and the beat of the music are still very similar regardless of the song.

I have rounded up nearly all of my Looney Tunes/Music experiments, with annotations where needed. These are the only ones currently still online, though. I have done a couple more that were removed due to copyright claims by bands who don't want people to showcase their music in unique and interesting ways.

"Radio Nowhere" by Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band
This one came from an online discussion with a fellow classic cartoon fanatic. The song had just come out, it was a big comeback for Springsteen, and I immediately noticed how poetic the lyrics were. We picked apart the lyrics and discovered that nearly every one of them had a scene in a Looney Tune that could illustrate it...and I made this as a result!

"Handlebars" by Flobots
This song is probably destined for the one-hit wonder category, but it's a great song and worked really well with cartoons. It's actually a very dark song, about the rise of a the use of the Hitler caricature from Bob Clampett's World War II classic "Russian Rhapsody" was a must!

"Insane In The Brain" by Cypress Hill
Cypress Hill were one of the pioneering hip-hop groups of the late 80's and early 90's, and while they're still around, this was their biggest hit. I think the title says it all as to why it works with Looney Tunes!

"Lawn Chair High" by Rehab
Rehab were literally a group of Southern redneck stoners who sang and rapped about their lives. They had a few minor hits in the late 90's and early 2000's, this one included. A song about sitting in a lawn chair in your driveway and getting wasted doesn't sound like something that would go well with cartoons...but you might be surprised! The bits with the bear are from "Porky's Bear Facts", a black and white cartoon that was redrawn (badly) in color in the 1960's and that's the only version I could find of it, sadly.

"Always Where I Need To Be" by The Kooks
The Kooks are a British pop-rock group and are just plain fun. They claim the Kinks and the Beatles as influences. This song just makes people want to dance...and if there's one thing Looney Tunes had plenty of, it's dancing.

"What About Everything" by Carbon Leaf
Also a one-hit wonder, as far as I know. But this song is lyrically amazing, poetic in every sense of the word. Every time I look at this video, though, I can't help but think I could've made it better.

"Whiskey You're My Darlin' by The Poxey Boggards
A close friend of mine in college introduced me to this band. As far as I know, their claim to fame is playing ancient Irish folk songs at Renaissance festivals, and the dirtier the song, the better! This old drinking song worked well with the 1930's cartoons of Hugh Harman and Rudolph Ising, who gave the finger to Prohibition by making lots of cartoons that revolved around drinking.

"Bad Day" by Daniel Powter
ANOTHER 1-hit wonder. But very fitting for the likes of Daffy Duck and Wile E. Coyote!
Looney Tunes Bad Day

"Ants Marching" by Dave Matthews Band
One of my first attempts. It's also probably the only video I have done using only 4 cartoons.

Ants Marching

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