No, this is not a review of a new science movie I just caught on Netflix, though it could have been, a few years ago, before the explosion in video technology and savvy which has created on whole new genre of music video now lighting up YouTube. Covers have been a staple of YouTube since it came into our lives in 2006, but now they're being done, of Beatles and Beachboy songs and records by slightly lesser known artists, by just one person, singing all the parts and sometimes even playing all the instruments. They're all always fun to see and listen to, but Anne Reburn's, with what she refers to as her "clones," are in a class by themselves. The handful that I've seen so far are just fabulous, on all kinds of levels.
Reburn has a nice voice and a keen sense of harmony. But she and her clones (i.e., different takes of her) invest the videos with an infectious sensual energy, a sense of humor ranging from cute to delightful, and a series of facial expressions which are irresistible. More than that, the different versions of herself, singing different parts, show off these expressions at different and just the right times in the performance. In addition, she makes sure that she is always connected to the audience. In her cover (which already has well over a million views) at the top of this post of Roy Orbison's final hit, "You Got It," Anne or one of her clones -- whatever the others may be doing -- always manages, sweetly and seductively, to look at the camera, i.e, the audience. No wonder you can't take your eyes off the screen.
Years ago, my first published article in a scholarly journal, Toy, Mirror, and Art: The Metamorphosis of Technological Culture in 1977, observed that as a given technology develops, it moves from being a toy (people like to play with it, just for the kick of seeing what the new technology does) to being a mirror (reflecting some art or whatever already out there), to creating art in itself. YouTube has long been in the mirror phase -- a great place to watch and listen to your favorite recording artists. Anne Reburn's work -- and props are due to Luke Manning, who produced the brilliant video of Anne's ELO cover, "Don't Bring Me Down," which you can watch right after this text -- is a joyous proclamation that YouTube has ascended to the art level, in singers and musicians covering other artists.
Anne already has more than sixty covers up on YouTube, and I'm looking forward to watching all of them. She's also starting to post some good original material on Spotify. I expect we'll be seeing and hearing a lot more of her exuberant, angelic work in the future.