Sunday, July 21, 2019

Weekend Diversion: Dancing to the music

Most people who watch pop music videos don’t give much thought to them beyond whether they like them or not, and a large part of that will be based on the song itself. Most of the time, probably, we may not even know who is behind a music video, but when it comes to choreography, many hit videos in recent years have been choreographed by New Zealander Parris Goebel. This week’s post is about some of those.

Parris is from Manurewa in Auckland, and got her start in Hip Hop dance here in Auckland, first forming the group ReQuest, which still exists, along with the related group The Royal Family, all based at her Auckland dance studio, The Palace Dance Studio.

The video up top is brand new: It was released on July 19. In fact, this is among the newest songs I’ve ever shared (maybe the newest?). It’s by Sam Smith and it’s called “How Do You Sleep?”, and it was written by Smith, with Savan Kotecha, Max Martin and also Ilya, who produced the song. The video was directed by Grant Singer, and the choreography is by Parris Goebel, of course.

Sam Smith doesn’t usually dance in his videos, so this is pretty unique for him. I think it works well, especially the quasi-biblical tableaux (or maybe tableaux vivants is more accurate). I can’t share any information on the song’s chart performance because there isn’t any yet. I’m sure there will be.

I first made Sam Smith the subject of a Weekend Diversion post in December 2014, and again the following February. Since then, I included him in a Weekend Diversion post about Calvin Harris (second video). My first post to mention him, though, was just an ordinary post one week before Christmas, 2014.

Next up, Justin Bieber’s 1015 song, “Sorry”:

Okay, last week I said that I thought Justin Bieber was underrated, but that’s not why I’m sharing this. It’s actually because the choreography in this video is pretty typical, in my opinion, of Goebel’s work. You can see some similar themes used in all these videos.

One thing I especially liked about the YouTube version of this song is that the video description includes something most music videos don’t, namely, complete credits:
Director: Parris Goebel Producer: Justin Bieber, Scott "Scooter" Braun and Parris Goebel Animator: John Hwang Production Company: SB Films and Taktix Films Choreographer: Parris Goebel Dancers: The Ladies of ReQuest & The Royal Family Dance Crews from The Palace Dance Studio, NZ
The song itself was popular: It hit Number 2 in Australia (7x Platinum), Number 1 in Canada (7x Platinum), and in New Zealand (5x Platinum), and the UK (4x Platinum), and in the USA (8x Platinum).

Finally, “Touch”, a 2017 single by British girl group, Little Mix:

Little Mix was the winner of the eighth season of the UK’s The X Factor in 2011. I’ve heard of them, but the name is burned into my mind mostly because they’ve turned up to the answer for a lot of questions on the original (UK) version of the game show, The Chase (and I’m actually not joking about that).

At any rate, the song hit Number 13 in Australia (2x Platinum), 57 in Canada (Platinum), 22 in New Zealand (Gold), and Number 4 in the UK (2x Platinum). It doesn’t appear to have charted in the USA (only three of their singles have charted there).

• • •

I chose these particular songs because the fact that Parris Goebel was involved is publicly acknowledged, where some others she’s been involved with haven’t necessarily done so. Parris has posted a YouTube Playlist of the all the songs she’s worked on. Some of those songs weren’t singles, and some, well, they aren’t exactly my cup of tea. Nevertheless, I do think these particular videos give a taste of her work over the past five years.

So, this week was actually about people behind some videos, in this case, a Kiwi that most Americans may not have heard of before. That’s a nice thing in itself, and is bit of break from just sharing songs/videos I like. Think of it as a little mix. Sorry. Maybe I need sleep?

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