Thursday, March 25, 2010

Sam Tsui & College Musical

Well now. This blog did more traffic with my random pop culture tidbit than any other entry, and it took significantly less time to develop than other posts. This is either because Sara Ramirez is hot, or I need to use pictures more often. From now on, I’ll be cribbing more images from the net.

In a completely unrelated follow up, I wanted to bring some attention to a talented guy I discovered randomly on the Internet: Sam Tsui!

Actually, Sailor discovered him when bored at work and looking for something that would make me laugh. Given my interest in pop culture, my obsession with Glee, and general love of all things college, he found this little gem – HYSTERICAL! A great blend of the High School Musical narrative codes with satirical college humor. I was so impressed with Tsui’s voice that I decided to find out more about him (read, research/stalk him on Google, which is how all good pop culture junkies do it).

Apparently, Sam is a student at Yale, and his musical exploits are chronicled by his friend Kurt Schneider. This interview gives a bit of background on the guys – basically, they were messing around like most college students do, but given that both are ridiculously talented, their musical covers of popular songs have gone viral. Part of what makes them awesome is that Sam sings a number of parts – often times five or six harmonies – and Kurt layers them together in video montages that are really quite well done. Some of my favorites include the Glee version of “Don’t Stop Believing,” an awesome rendition of “Fireflies” (that I actually enjoy much more than the original), and a wicked fun melody of Michael Jackson songs. The guys recently released an album on iTunes (which I downloaded the first week it went live) that includes all of these tracks and more.

Their work is definitely a Broadway/theatrical style of singing/production, but it has solid pop appeal. Its success is most likely related to its ability to capitalize on a cultural moment where traditionally campy, theatrical representations are anchored to kid's culture and youth movements. But that's as far as my theoretical read is going today, so, if you’re looking for a fun distraction, check them out!

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