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Video Spotlight: Love Yourself by VoicePlay

***Caution***
Silliness ahead.
You have been warned.

Considering that the last two videos featured were both heavy and incredibly sad, it seemed appropriate to lighten things up this time. A lot. So I turn back to VoicePlay. Or rather, part of VoicePlay. For this is the first of a new series called Part Work that VoicePlay has started as a way to give their fans more content. As much as I love how the five of them sound together, it's interesting to hear how just parts of the group sound together. In this case, Eli Jacobson and Geoff Castellucci. There's some video trickery involved in this video. 


Either that or we've just learned that Geoff has an evil twin and they figured out how to clone Eli. All so they could launch the most nefarious and dastardly plot in the history of all nefarious, dastardly plots. 
Step 1: Oust Earl, Layne and Tony from the group. Much easier to control clones. 
Step 2: Make the unsuspecting public love the songs of the one called Bieber. Yep, this is a Justin Bieber song, folks.
Step 3: Laugh maniacally. Because every good villain needs a good maniacal laugh. Am I right or am I right?
Step 4: Try to take over the world! I mean, isn't that the end goal of all nefarious, dastardly plots? 

Honestly, speaking as a total non-Belieber, if these two can make me like a Bieber song this much, this might not be a bad thing. Just think. All mediocre music suddenly becoming palatable and musical. Guys, I think I'm on board. Aca-world domination for the win! 

Nah, I'm just being silly. Obviously, this is the first of their new Part Work series. In fact, they've recently launched another new series called 1 Minute Musicals where they perform an original musical in one minute. It's a fantastic concept and they've already released two with all five members present and accounted for. The first is Stuck in Traffic, music and lyrics by Layne and Tony, in which Tony speaks, er, sings for us all. The second came out last week and is called Lightbulb, music and lyrics by Eli, and is all about the ever-so-wonderful lightbulb. Never did I imagine I'd ever hear the phrase "indoor incandescent safety" in a song, but Eli did it.

So no, of course Eli and Geoff aren't evil geniuses bent on world domination. And if they ever did decide to try to take over the world, it would surely be as a group. Then again, Eli did write their newest musical and they did set Earl on fire in it. Hmm...

I need a minute or two to ponder this. Y'all go enjoy "Love Yourself".

This video serves to confirm two beliefs I've had for a while now. The first is that it all comes back to the arrangement. The arrangement makes or breaks a song. A bad arrangement weighs down a good song at best, and destroys it at worst. A good arrangement, however, can take a subpar song and turn it into something great. In fairness, I'll give Justin Bieber some credit here. "Love Yourself" isn't half bad. Is it the best song ever written? No. But it's not bad. Not bad at all. Lyrically, anyway. Don't love the music in the original. Flat is the word that comes to mind. 

Obviously, the fact that I'm such a fan of both Eli and Geoff didn't hurt. I knew going in that they'd make it better than the original. What surprised me was just how much I like their version. I daresay that I even love it. These are strange times we live in, my friends. Geoff's arrangement is a big part of it. It gave the song some much needed life. Meanwhile, let's take a moment to appreciate the beatboxing skills that I had no idea Geoff had. Respect. Seriously, the videos VoicePlay's been putting out lately, it's been like their version of Hidden Talents. Anyone else remember that board game? A quick Google search informs me that that game came out over 20 years ago. Oy vey. 

Now that I've made myself feel good and old, the other belief that this video confirmed is that I could listen to Eli sing absolutely anything. I love the timbre of his voice and that dude has vocal runs for days. I have a love/hate relationship with vocal runs. When bad or sloppy or overused, they're like nails on a chalkboard to me. What I like is when they are crisp and clean and maybe not exactly what you'd expect them to be. And not done every two seconds. That's what I like and that's how Eli's are and bless him for it. I get a kick out of the two of them at the end. They're funny together.

Time for a Geoff and Eli story. I met them (and the other three) at the Ryman a little over a year ago. Now I was a painfully shy kid and it's gotten better over time, but tends to act up at the most inopportune times. Such as when meeting new people. When this happens, I either start babbling or clam up. Or both. In this case, poor Tony was first so he got the babble. The resulting clamming up was no doubt a self-defense mechanism. Geoff threw me a bone by asking what I thought of the show. Eli, after saying that "thank you" is the most sincere thing you will ever hear an a cappella singer say, thanked me for coming. A+ for follow through. It was here that the line stalled out. And you know what? I had Eli's attention that entire time. We're talking maybe two minutes here, if that. Not so long in the grand scheme of things, but still, it meant something to me. It's the little things like that that I value the most. So Geoff and Eli? Definitely not evil geniuses.

For the record - Earl, Layne and Tony? Equally friendly. It was a pleasure to meet all five of them. I just had the most interaction, albeit lacking on my end, with Geoff and Eli. And besides, this video was just Geoff and Eli anyway. Or you know, the two of them along with an evil twin and some clones, depending on how you want to look at it. Seriously, though, has anyone seen Earl, Layne and Tony lately?

I did warn you that there would be silliness ahead.

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