YouTube channel puts twist on modern music


Zeke Polken, Copy Editor

Postmodern Jukebox, a musical project that releases covers of popular songs in vintage styles such as swing, jazz, and ragtime, is currently the most unique and enjoyable experience on YouTube.

The song covers, which are uploaded to the channel ScottBradleeLovesYa every Tuesday, feature Bradlee, who is the frontman of the band as well as the piano player, and a rotating group of musicians and singers. While some of the singers are obviously more talented than others, each of them provides a unique flair.

The project originally started in late 2011, when Bradlee and a group of musician friends uploaded a video titled “A Motown Tribute to Nickelback” to YouTube. This video transformed near-universally reviled Nickelback song “How You Remind Me” into a vintage Motown groove, and it inevitably went viral. After performing gigs and getting shoutouts from various celebrities (including Nickelback themselves), the group posted another song cover, this time of “Thrift Shop” by Macklemore, featuring Robyn Adele Anderson on vocals. This too went viral, and their career took off from there.

The most popular video on the channel, with over 11 million views, is a 1950s doo-wop styled cover of “We Can’t Stop” by Miley Cyrus, performed by Anderson. Quickly catching up to it, however, is their “All About That Bass” cover featuring singer Kate Davis, who plays an actual upright bass while singing the song.

Not to be underestimated is the singers’ ability to take modern songs that tend to be mediocre, some even downright horrible, and transform them into completely different experiences. The songs “Talk Dirty” and “Wiggle,” both by Jason Derulo, are not known for having the most sophisticated or classy lyrics, but switching “Talk Dirty” into a vintage Jewish klezmer tune (complete with an accordion and Yiddish) and “Wiggle” into a Broadway-styled cover featuring tap dancing makes for a drastic improvement in both songs. They even released a ragtime/bluegrass-styled “Anaconda” cover, which I think speaks for itself.

While Anderson was originally the only singer featured in the group, they have recently featured others. There are now two additional women who can be considered lead singers, along with multiple guest singers.

All three of the lead singers are showcased in one of the best covers by the group, a cover of Ellie Goulding’s “Burn” modeled after ‘60s girl groups, which happens to feature a flaming saxophone in the background. That by itself is just such a hilariously awesome idea for a video, but the singers’ voices made it that much better.

Cristina Gatti, who sings first in the aforementioned cover as well as in several other videos, has one of the most unique and gorgeous voices I have ever heard. Gatti’s voice reminds me somewhat of Amy Winehouse but with a more elegant and jazzy flair. Her facial and body movements are incredibly expressive and show her complete dedication to the songs she sings, including her flawless cover of “Drunk in Love” by Beyonce. She is also incredibly versatile in her style, having taken on 1940’s big band and swing, “James Bond theme” style, French pop, and ’40s torch songs.

Other guest musicians are not to be overlooked. For instance, my all-time favorite cover of theirs is a sock-hop take on the summer hit “Rude” by Magic!. It features the incredible vocals of singer Von Smith, who sports some of the most impressive range I have ever heard from a male vocalist. Some of their other impressive covers performed by guest singers include a 1950s rock and roll/sock-hop styled cover of One Direction’s “Steal My Girl” performed by Nashville singer/songwriter Jeffrey James, Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space” performed in a torchy cabaret style featuring singer Ariana Savalas and a Los Angeles-based dance troupe, and a ragtime take on Fountains of Wayne’s “Stacy’s Mom” performed by “American Idol” alum, upright bassist, and melodica player Casey Abrams.

The musicians in the background, such as drummer Allan Mednard and bassist Adam Kubota, despite rarely being fully visible in the videos, are a main reason this band is as powerful as it is. The selection of instruments is always incredibly diverse, and the instrumentalists act as a perfect accompaniment to the singers.

The amount of creativity and musical talent the band displays in each video is off the charts. Combine that with my love of vintage musical styles such as swing and ragtime, and you have what is my favorite channel on YouTube right now. The covers I recommend the most, in addition to the ones mentioned above, are “Timber” and “Careless Whisper” by Anderson and “Sweater Weather,” “Love Me Harder” and “Womanizer” by Gatti.