July 29, 2010
This week's featured song is a gem recently brought to our attention by Felix, one of UBEST's wonderful student assistants. Wendy and I were unaware of the American Chemical Society's "What is Nano?" video contest when it was held last year, but the entry shown below -- made by a UC-Berkeley team led by director Patrick Bennett and vocalist Glory Liu -- won both the Critics' Choice and People's Choice awards.
I'm always impressed when the musical accompaniment and arrangement of a song reinforce the meaning of the lyrics, but this production takes the opposite approach. A very modern and cutting-edge topic, nanotechnology, is presented in a very old-fashioned way, featuring puppetry and Mary Poppins-ish music. The contrast makes the video more striking and humorous, at least for me. While a "techno" flavor might have been a more obvious stylistic choice, I'm not sure that it would have had the same impact.