There was so much hype about the Maccabeats' Candlelight video that I did not feel the need to write about the Maccabeats around Chanukah. But the truth is that a post about the Maccabeats is long overdue.
I am not obsessed with the Maccabeats, but I am obsessed with their fame. Although from a musical perspective their songs are excellent and a pleasure to listen to, other a capella groups are more talented musically- groups such as Six13, for instance. They are excellent, but not the most amazing group I have ever heard. What interests me more is that a small group of YU students went from being nearly unknown to being close to 5 million views famous. While the Maccabeats are clearly talented, their fame is really due to two factors: Uri Westrich and the amazing video he directed, and secondly like with everything that is successful, they (unintentionally) filled in a missing hole in society. The world, or at least
Candlelight was fun to sing and catchy. When I watched the video for the first time, my first reaction was one that I know was shared by many of you out there. I stared at the screen, whispered “wow,” and then watched it again. Like potato chips, I had to keep watching it again and again. I watched as the video reached the milestone of one million views, as news station after news station interviewed the Maccabeats, and I saw them perform Candlelight live at the annual YU Chanukah concert. As a graduate of
Today the Maccabeats released their new video, about Purim. Some of us devoted fans (and Facebook stalkers) have been awaiting this video, especially since the Maccabeats' status last week which hinted that it was coming. Before I discuss the video, here it is:
The difficult part about making a video after a hit is that there are tons of expectations, and a lot to live up to. Overall the Purim video was quite good and well done, but as could be expected, it was not quite as good as Candlelight. Let me start out with my critique and end on a positive note.
The main reason why the new video is lacking is that it is a poor song choice for a number of reasons. Firstly, because the song on which it was based is an inappropriate song. Due to the limited amount of time I spend listening to non- Jewish music, I had never heard the song "Raise Your Glass," by Pink before, and the first thing I did was search on YouTube for the original. (I will also point out that I had never heard of "Dynamite" before, and I immediately went to the original in that case as well). The first video that came up was the official music video of Pink for the song, which I am horrified to say that I watched, and strongly do not recommend. The lyrics of the song were mildly upsetting, but the video itself was extremely offensive. Putting the lyrics and video aside, "Raise your Glass" was a poor selection for the Maccabeats because it is not so catchy and difficult to sing. Candlelight can be difficult to sing, but the Purim Song is even more so. If people have difficulties singing it, then they won't. It goes nowhere. “I flip my latkes in the air sometimes” is much more catchy than “Raise your glass.” Additionally, the words “raise your glass” are part of the original lyric of the song, whereas “I flip my latkes in the air sometimes” is a line written by the Maccabeats.
My second critique of the video, after their song choice, boils down to the fact I would rename this video to "Candlelight: The sequel." Candlelight was not the Maccabeats' first video. Their "One Day" video was the first video, and it was drastically different from Candlelight both musically and stylistically. The Purim Song video is more of a synthesis of their two videos, without really adding its' own unique aspect. The Purim song takes themes from both previous videos. It shows the Maccabeats singing outside in their coats in the snow, which is very much reminiscent of the scenes in the park in the One Day video. One of the elements taken from Candlelight is that it features a reenactment of the story of the holiday on which it is based, in this case, Purim. Another similar element is what I will call the "holiday feast" scene, where the members of the group are casually seated around a table and shown chatting and eating. The only new element of the video is the introduction of children into the video. I don't know who those kids are, but they sure are lucky to make it into the video! Their parents must be proud.
Now on to what I liked about the video: Let’s start out with the amazing vocals, as always, the Maccabeats sound great! The video it self was quite amazing quality and extremely professional, living up to the high standard of the other two. The Seuda scene was perfect for film with tons of colors. It was just so colorful! The costumes were amazing, as a Harry Potter fan, I liked that costume, and every detail of that scene was perfect. I was also impressed with the
Despite the poor song choice that is just not catchy enough for me to sing along to, and the slight lack of originality, the Maccabeats’ video is fun to watch, a pleasure to listen to and overall I just have to say Yashar Koach to the Maccabeats and all of those who helped put the video together. May this video make a Kiddush Hashem just like the previous video, and may it be the channel through which the message of Purim is spread.