Saturday, July 2, 2011

YouTube Variations: Heat of the Moment

Tracy and I are planning to decorate the walls of our new place in Iowa City (where we'll be moving on Tuesday) with prog rock record covers and hilarious comic books from the Half Price Books. The first album we got for this purpose was Asia's self-titled record, which looks really freakin' awesome. Prog record covers are generally pretty insane, so that's one reason for the purchase, but I also actually like a fair amount of prog, so I went home and bought the electronic version also (you're welcome, Asia). I hadn't realized, because the album predates my birth by four years, that this is where "Heat of the Moment" comes from. I had heard the song, but only in the hilarious Southpark scene where Cartman uses it to convince Congress to legalize stem cell research. For some reason Comedy Central will only let the scene stay up on YouTube if it's been multiplied by four, so, uh, here's that:

The Southpark cover is actually really stirring and effective, with Cartman's brilliant use of harmony in the climax selling the song better than Asia ever really did. I like this high school student attempting to recreate the moment. He's not a great singer but it's a hilarious entry into the "unopposed student government election speech" genre. Kind of tragic how bad his fellow students' rhythm is, but I'm glad they have the sense of humor to go for it.

I really appreciate how literal the original video is:

"Here's a fire, to symbolize heat! Here's a clock, to symbolize the moment! Here's a woman with fire reflected in her glasses, to symbolize the heat in her eyes!" Brilliant.

So I went looking for covers on YouTube and guys, did you know there are a lot of covers of "The Heat of the Moment" on YouTube? Unfortunately most of them are awful, and not even in a funny way: the Internet has apparently collectively concluded that this song cannot be improved on or even varied in any interesting ways. Not only do the majority of covers play it totally straight, they tend to slavishly imitate the original vocal performance.

Probably the best cover is this a cappella version. Like most songs in this style, it sounds sort of wonderfully unhinged, though I do think they could have handled the melody a little more roughly and wrung out a little more interest -- purify the tone, reduce the absurd over-emoting, and it becomes a little too straightforward, I think. The build that comes at the halfway point is bananas, though:

Their cover of "Don't Stop Believin'" is also a lot of fun, if for no other reason than their handling of a particular guitar part.

This adorable video of kids covering the song gives me an opportunity to express how much I hate it when kids cover songs and I have to sit there and pretend it's good. It's not! Even when they're good for kids, their voices are still awful and overbearing. That's right: screw you, children of America.

This one meanwhile is a bit weird and ineffective, so I'm not embedding it. Not embedding this entirely predictable Alvin and the Chipmunks cover either. They're almost as bad as the kids! I love the way this guy says "oh yeah." He doesn't seem to know some of the parts very well, or, honestly, at all.

Shirtless college students! The screaming guy is... weird. I guess he's the "throat." YouTube consensus: these guys are totally gay.

There are a couple other songs called "Heat of the Moment" on YouTube which gives me mixed feelings. On the one hand, it's a cliche, so obviously it's up for grabs. On the other hand, it feels a little hubristic, doesn't it? This singer's weird singing faces almost make you want to believe, though:

Unnecessary techno cover! I like the part where it just gives up and becomes the original song:

This one is outright surreal. Only one of the guitarists seems to have any idea how the song actually goes, but he doesn't care. The drummer is in his own world playing a totally irrelevant rhythm. The guy in his pajamas with the guitar seemingly bolted to his chest isn't quite sure what he's supposed to be doing here, and meanwhile the singer (who has to get out the lyric sheet at one point to figure out what's going on) mostly wanders around confronting his bandmates and rubbing their faces. I... I think he just wants to kiss these guys, and that's why he brought them to his basement, but they somehow heard "makeout party" as "band practice" and he can't figure out how to break the news.

This one isn't really a cover, it's just pointless. A guy demonstrates the quality of his speakers by playing "Heat of the Moment" on them, then recording that with a camera, then uploading that to YouTube, which will naturally eradicate the sound quality. I don't even know:

I think we have to end it with this "drum cover," though, which I'm too nice to say anything about. Pure, 100% YouTubiness. Play it with this bass cover and this video of a guy playing the solo over the song and you'll have like almost a whole band, albeit playing over three copies of the original whole band:


  1. i'm so freaked out by what the blues singer woman says about her friend. creepy all-around.

  2. Yeah, she's a lot more awkward than she needs to be on paper.

  3. I loved this post. Top Ten. I hope for more hits than Cucumber Gatorade.

  4. Nothing will ever beat the Cucumber Gatorade post. It is impossible. The pinnacle of human achievement.