If you’re a music nerd like yours truly and you spend a decent amount of time on YouTube in say, the last three years, then you have no doubt come across a music reaction video. Most of the time it basically boils down to someone who falls under the category Gen Z (and yes, I had to look up what differentiates a millennial from a Gen Z from a whatever, all I know is that I’m old) “reacting” to a classic rock song.
In the beginning of this trend I watched a bunch of these videos but I quickly tired of them. Boomers may want to feel the need to have their musical tastes (and therefore themselves) validated by non boomers. Personally I don’t need someone to tell me what I like is good. It’s what I like, that’s good enough. I also can’t help but feel their is an intrinsic dishonesty to the process. The people who put out these videos are aware of the all powerful You Tube algorithm. If you put out a video with an unfavorable reaction to a favorite band/song than you risk getting a dislike and hurting your video’s possibility to be recommended to other fans of said artist. That can have a direct economic impact on the You Tuber. The whole thing reeks of five day old click bait.
But besides these misgivings the biggest reason I stopped watching these videos is that for the most part, these reactors were, how do I put this delicately, oh I know, IDIOTS! Please note that I think there are some exceptions but for the majority of the videos I watched, I stand by my assessment.
Maybe it’s because of my interest as a musician but I would much rather watch something that will point out something new about a classic song, not just reaffirm my taste and tell me what I want to hear. That brings me to the videos below from a fairly new You Tube channel Professional Musicians React.
With a semi rotating panel of professional musicians, the videos dissect some classic songs (as well as songs from contemporary artists such as Billie Eilish and Taylor Swift), discussing aspects of the song like it’s harmony, composition, vocal performance, production and other cool things for music geeks to dig. Like the panel, you now notice little things about a song you heard so many times but now realize you never really listened to before. Another thing I like about these videos is how they will explain a technical term for the layman. When they refer to things like gate, sidechain or low pass filter, they make a point of explaining it.
Professional Musicians React – Stevie Wonder – Superstition
Professional Musicians React – The Beatles – Here Comes The Sun
Professional Musicians React – Nirvana – Smells Like Teen Spirit
If this whets your appetite for a deeper appreciation of great music by people who actually know what they’re talking about then go check out their channel at https://www.youtube.com/c/Professionalmusiciansreact/featured