Pick of the Week – November 16-22, 2015

The advent of Youtube (and the Internet in general really) along with inexpensive cameras and editing tools has given anyone who wants it to share their creativity with the world.  I am constantly amazed by the talent to be found out there.  Recently, though, I discovered that several different and (so I thought) completely unconnected projects were all the creations of one man.

I was first introduced to the work of Neil Cicierega several years ago through a web comedy series called Potter Puppet Pals.  As the title implies, it is a series of shorts starring puppet versions of the Harry Potter characters.  The one I first saw was “The Mysterious Ticking Noise.”  At the time, I didn’t pay much attention to the creator’s name, and, even if I had, I’m sure I would have lost it in the ensuing years.

Several months ago, my son, most likely in an effort to see if he could provoke any geek rage in me, showed me this “Guide to the Races of Star Trek,” a video that at first seems like an over-eager fan’s attempt to explain Star Trek’s aliens but one filled with so many mistakes that…well…let’s just say my son almost accomplished his goal before I realized the mistakes were on purpose.  And the architect of this catastrophe?  Neil Cicierega.  He’s done a similar video for The Lord of the Rings, guaranteed to annoy the Tolkien lover in your life.

Some time after that, my son once again had something for me.  This was a remix of the Ghostbusters theme called “Bustin.”  It’s ridiculous, but also incredibly catchy.  Once again, Neil Cicierega was the one responsible, but I still hadn’t put together that all of these various things were coming from the same person.

About a week ago, my son sent another song my way.  This was an original by a band named Lemon Demon.  The song, “Reaganomics,” got stuck in my head, and I ended up listening to it several times before going to learn more about the band.  That’s when I found out that there isn’t a band as such.  Lemon Demon is Neil Cicierega.  And from there I researched him and put the rest of the connections together. 

Really any one of these could be my Pick this week, but instead I’ll just say in general that you won’t go wrong if you spend some time exploring the varied works of Neil Cicierega.  On top of everything I just mentioned, he’s also done a couple of albums of mash-ups that are freely available on his website.   My favorite that I’ve run across so far is THIS mash-up of the Barenaked Ladies’ “One Week,” and Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal.”

- Alan Decker

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