Who says one must forgo lyrical complexity for the sake of catchiness? California-based designer and musician Dave Werner, known around the Internet as OkaySamurai, has set out to prove that we don’t have to settle for vapidity in our favorite pop tunes anymore. We can have our musical cake and eat it too, enjoying fun melodies and intellectually stimulating lyrics.
Enter “Extraneous Lyrics 2012,” Werner’s round-up — and sesquipedalian revamp — of the most ubiquitous tunes of the past year. This is the third time he’s given the highbrow treatment to a year’s worth of pop songs, having produced similar videos in 2011 and 2010. Those were clever, but a bit more low-budget; this year, he really went all out, and the result is impressive — not to mention highly entertaining. Werner explains on his Tumblr:
This project took about 3 months to put together: learning how to play the songs, rewriting the lyrics, practicing, recording all the tracks, filming with my friend Shaun, editing the video, and finally adding in all the motion-tracked lyrics and post-processing.
Werner’s previous videos featured him and his guitar in a nondescript room. But this year, amping up the production value also meant changing up filming locations. Werner sings on seaside trails and swing sets, prances with geese through a parking lot, and even does a little “Gangnam Style” dance in the woods.
But one of the best parts of watching this video is that it becomes a game of how quickly you can determine which song he’s parodying. Take, for example, one song that was especially popular during the summer months. Here are the revamped opening lyrics, which end up sounding rather educational:
“I dispensed hope into a subterranean reservoir
Interrogate me and I’ll remain taciturn
I glanced wayward during the gravitational pull
And now you’re impeding my peregrination
Your retinal cones were transfixed
Lacerated denim, visible epidermis
Coalescent dusk, zephyrs and turbulence
What’s your predetermined thoroughfare, baby?”
Sure, the highbrow alternatives to these tunes end up a little clunky — but still totally catchy. In fact, we fear that several of the new versions will end up stuck in our heads for the rest of the week. Especially the fresh take on One Direction: “You’re oblivious that your physical attributes are considered quite pleasant.” Genius.
LIST: Top 10 Songs of 2012