It seems crazy to think that just 7 years ago YouTube didn’t exist as a universal verb or even as a URL on the internet. It begs the question as to where the hell we stashed all our videos of sneezing pandas and cinnamon challenges before this (un)godly video sharing site was born? More to the point, since YouTube’s humble beginnings, music-related videos have become a giant part of its content. Since then, artists and labels have been ferociously working to create new and innovative ways of capturing the attention of an ever-growing audience through telegenic artforms. And so, not long after YouTube was established, the acoustic session came into being – a mingling of the music video with the live session, if you will. I’ve collated my five favourites, all of which can be streamed on YouTube worldwide:
5. Peter & Kerry – Teardrops
Shot in the delectable backstreets of East London, indie-duo Peter & Kerry bring real charm with this intimate cover of Womack and Womack’s Teardrops. Their on-screen chemistry (spontanious giggles and smiles from both throughout) makes this a classic. Filmed by Miles Langley.
4. Johnny Flynn – Wayne Rooney
Continuing on with the London trend comes English Folk virtuoso Johnny Flynn, performing in the back of a taxi for Black Cab Sessions. This is actually the first video ever created for the series, and dates back over four years! Though the camera work is a bit shaky and the audio is slightly muffled, the actual context is something special. Mr. Flynn had just started dating his childhood sweetheart after an elongated period as just friends, and this video features a nervous performance infront of her, along with copious exchanges of adoring gazes between the two. What makes this video so special is they’re now happily married with kids, awwww.
3. Marika Hackman – You Come Down
After being scouted by Burberry for their eyewear campaign, Folk goddess Maricka Hackman performed this impromptu song in her friend’s back garden for the Burberry Acoustic series. The combination of her beautiful lyrics, whispered tone and Brighton seagulls in the background makes this one of my favourites. Thanks to Bristol Couch for putting us onto Marika last year, with their own session with her.
2. The Morning Benders – Crosseyed
Another old-school video, this was actually handcrafted by the band themselves when they were still unsigned. It features some genius choreography plus a panoramic view of sundripped Berkeley, California. Perfect music for the perfect landscape.
1. Lianne La Havas – No Room for Doubt
Inspired by the film Step Across the Border about the English guitarist Fred Frith, Parisian independent film-maker Vincent Moon (real name Mathieu Saura) created La Blogothèque, a series of improvised outdoor video sessions with musicians, set in unexpected locations around the French capital. His videos have garnered so much attention on YouTube that The New York Times made the lofty claim that he’d “reinvented the music video”. The session is his magnum opus, no questions asked! How he manages to capture the intimacy of the song whilst filming down a busy french street is beyond me.
If you enjoyed all that, check out our own acoustic sessions at Stamp TV.