Steph n Jay Interpret NIN’s “Closer”

Forgive me if I ramble, but I have had about four fifths of a bottle of Beaujolais-Villages at this point and I have to share this with someone. After all, what’s the fun of having a magazine if you can’t surprise your audience now and then?

I like to watch “reaction videos” on YouTube. If you are not familiar with them, they are where a person or couple show their reaction to songs they have never heard before. This may sound boring, but if you find the better reactors (maybe that’s the name for them), they can be a lot of fun, especially when someone in his/her twenties hears “Stairway to Heaven” for the first time, after growing up on Hip Hop, etc, and is awed by them just as my generation was when we heard it for the first time in the seventies. Some reactors, I suspect, are phony and have heard the song before and have practiced their reaction, but others are not and seem genuine in their response. Steph n Jay seem genuine to me.

One of my most deeply rooted beliefs about literature and storytelling in general is that when a person hears/reads or tells a story, they live that story vicariously to some degree. That is sort of related to why people enjoy these reaction videos (if not, it is why I enjoy them). They see someone reliving the experience of hearing a great song for the first time and they relive the moment when they first heard it. I watch another reaction video team called Alex and Andy a lot. They not only show their reactions to hearing something for the first time, but being musicians themselves, they analyze the song musically as well as emotionally. Being of college age and reviewing classic rock, they are reviewing songs from The Who and Led Zeppelin at the same age I was when I first heard them. So I am reliving the experience I had when I first heard them with friends of that age.

I remember when I first heard “Closer” in the late nineties. It was a shock initially, but now I enjoy the hell out of it every time I hear it. It touches a certain pleasure-soaked dark side somewhere perhaps not so deep in my psyche.

This is the first time I have happened upon Steph n Jay. They are a middle to late middle-age couple. In this video they listen to “Closer” for the first time. Judging by their reaction in the teaser, I thought it would be fun to watch them. It was.

It was fun, but not in the sense you might expect. They seemed shocked initially as if they had caught their ten-year-old (theoretical) son saying fuck for the first time, but then they seem to get into it. I won’t say anymore because I don’t want to spoil the video for you. Watch not only their reaction but their interaction with each other as the song progresses. To me, they seem to be gradually more turned on by “Closer” and, I suspect, may have had something of a carnal interlude shortly after watching this. This may gross out the younger members of my audience, but I am verging on being an old man now and it seems cute and adorable to me. Their response may have been assisted by both of them having a drink while watching this (she has wine and he has beer).

Let me know what you think in the comments below.

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