YouTube’s guitar heroes

I know: It seems I never say anything positive about social media, because…mostly I don’t. I wouldn’t mind if most social media platforms (especially Twitter) disappeared tomorrow.

But even social media has a few upsides. One of these upsides is the abundance of very talented young musicians on YouTube. 

Sophie Lloyd, the guitarist in the video posted above, does a virtuoso job on the guitar. I took guitar lessons myself for a while in the very early 1980s. I couldn’t begin to do what she does, but I do have an insider’s understanding of how much practice it takes to play like that.  

I also love the rock bands of the 1980s–Van Halen, Boston, Rush, AC/DC, Def Leppard. A solid cover of any of their old songs is sure to get my attention.

Speaking of which: Most of these videos are imitative in nature. They are mostly doing cover songs. Some of these artists, I’ve noticed, are also venturing into original material. But it makes sense to begin building an audience by competently covering songs that rock fans already know. People aren’t going to search for a musician’s original songs if they’ve never heard of that musician. 

Some YouTube commenters have also pointed out (with varying degrees of wryness and resentment) that there is a cheesecake factor here: A suspiciously high percentage of the most popular YouTube cover artists seem to be attractive young women. 

I get that; and I won’t totally discount that as a factor. But the ones who gain real traction on YouTube are also good musicians. 

Rock music, moreover, has always had a visual angle. It’s always been partly about sex appeal. That was as true for Rick Springfield (the teenybopper heartthrob of my junior high years) as it was for Pat Benatar. (The performance below is from 1980.)