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I am a YouTube binger.


Beep: This post is video heavy. If you’d like to skip to the GOOD part, watch all the Game of Thrones covers at the end. End beep.

There has been a recurrent theme in my last two days.

1) Yesterday, before binge writing a new article, I gallivanted around YouTube for two hours in search of new sounds. I’m the sort of person who absolutely needs music while I write. I discovered Duran Duran’s Ordinary World and listened to every single cover I could find on YouTube. In this process, I found this bizarre cover by Le Bon x Pavarotti, and this pretty interesting one by contestants on The Voice Kids 2014.

2) In the evening, I read Katrin Tiidenberg’s blogpost in which she mused over a budding “digitally mediated self care project”. Kat (I get to call her Kat because we are friends, right?) made a connection between procrastinating on social media/social media bingeing and self-care, and writes:

“I have a niggling thought that people might have rather elaborate strategies and practices for when to apply cat videos, weird sub-reddits, fan fiction, or photo galleries of tattoos.”

3) This morning, I met with a new friend/scholar/colleague/collaborator, Liew Kai Khiun, and fell into an exciting blackhole brainstorming about heritage and music in Singapore.

For me, binge YouTubing is the primary way through which I get my music. I own only a limited number of CDs (and still use a functioning discman from Sony circa 1999, how cool am I?), and I don’t have accounts on Spotify, Soundcloud, Bandcamp, MySpace, iTunes and the like.

I usually have music from YouTube playing in the background when I write. But whenever I write or am rushing out a deadline and need some headspace to cleanse my pallet before re-reading/re-writing/editing my work, I binge on YouTube music with utmost concentration.

I know this sounds unhealthy, but I’ve trained myself into taking ‘forced’ breaks in which I binge YouTube to reset my brain, change gears, wind down from/gear up for the next bit of strenuous writing. If I could have it my way, I wound binge read any time, but alas, time does not always permit this luxury.

Music affects me in an emotional way that defies logic. Like the magical *organ sound* ACband produced at the end of Nessun Dorma during the grand finals of the 17th Australian Music Festival in 2006. We were in the Sydney Opera House where the structural reverberation was tricky to maneuver, but we pulled it off. And Dr Lee shed tears on stage.

Another time, a friend I met two summers ago introduced me to Anna Ternheim and sent me this D&G reading because I was always humming to myself (sorry). I blasted Anna on replay, went through the whole text, and couldn’t stop weeping. Why so dramatic?

I generally enjoy acapellas, orchestral music, percussion ensembles, soul and jazz, and first auditions of reality TV singing contests.

I know the last one sounds very specific, but I absolutely live for the money shots, especially when it’s children or young people being 500% amazeballs.

For instance, Britain’s Got Talent contestant Asanda Jezile. Seemingly quiet and shy until she explodes into some pretty crazy confident dance moves:

And X Factor contestant Rachel Crow when she begins to display maximum adorbs to tell us “My family has like no money…”

My all-time favourite mallet ensembles?

This one man show, Lord of The Rings OST mallet cover:

This Japanese orchestra covering Jupiter from Holst’s The Planets:

And all these adorable children from the Marimba Ponies who make my ovaries explode:

Best acapellas in the history of forever?

MO5AIC’s cover of Bohemian Rhapsody. The amazing harmony, you guys:

The Gay Men’s Chorus of LA, pulling together an impromptu performance of Cyndi Lauper’s True Colours. 3:21 is just audio fantasia:

And this. This is truly my all time favourite. I regularly search YouTube for acapella covers of the Lion King OST. Despite the meh quality, this impromptu cover from the cast on a plane ride is still my favourite. Look at all the joy and enthusiasm and chemistry. It makes me want to cry. I also want to cry because when I was a child I always thought I’d play in an orchestra professionally as a full-time job, or travel the world with a theatre troupe to play percussion. At least I get to live vicariously via YouTube:

One song I religiously sieve through YouTube to seek out new covers for is John Legend’s Ordinary People. I do this at least once a month.

The original music video (2004):

Live on Letterman (2013). IMHO, version with the best support band:

Live at the Kennedy Center (2014). IMHO version with the best full orchestra:

John Legend’s surprise duet with Alicia Keys. I always scream internally when she stops after a few keys and says “Actually I’ve got somebody who can play this much better than I do”:

YouTuber Tim Milgram’s super wicked piano rendition:

Six Appeal’s rendition. 3:12 is all the magic:

Yale Whiffenpoofs’ acapella rendition:

Jazz Ellington’s The Voice audition:

Lastly, Game of Thrones OST covers. Every body please appreciate. So much gold.

This metal cover. Just listen to the super sick double pedal at 0:45:

This classy cello cover:

These hardcore e-guit lines:

Sungha Jung on guitar with monster finger work:

Classic comedy acapella from The Warp Zone:

Indian tabla and flute rendition:


Are you a YouTube binger too? Maybe we could form a support group. Or burst our monthly data caps together. (Oops. Sorry.)

Beep here.

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