Last year a friend of mine had to sit me down and explain what ASMR was.
Knowing the kind of bubble I live in between work and writing, he was worried I was losing my touch.
I'm the first to admit I'm unable to keep up with what makes Millennials tick.
I didn't even know ASMR existed let alone that it was making noisy (and not so noisy) people rich. Mashable have an introductory video into the phenomenon in case you're not yet across it.
I ended the conversation with my friend incredulous and certain of only two things;
(i) my various career paths have all been poorly chosen
(ii) I need to keep up with the most savvy generation earth has seen.
To that effort, I was proud when I discovered yet another Gen Y staple: reactions.
Now there are a lot of Reactions on youtube (I guess they're made by Reactors...or are they just influencers? God help me.)
In case you don't know what they are, they're basically filmed reactions to videos or moments. It goes well beyond those viral hits of people's OTT reactions to scenes from Game of Thrones that had everyone feeling things a couple of years back. Reactions have become more sophisticated and exhaustive since their Viral beginnings.
Nowadays there's a growing number of (mostly) Millennials who film their commentaries on daily pop culture, but also those who trawl back through the 80s and 90s to "discover" and "react" to classic content.
They have channels and followers, and often Stans (=major fans) make suggestions of videos or albums they should watch/listen to and then react to.
There's a fair bit of disingenuity going on in a lot of reaction videos; people pretending to watch something for the first time or reacting in a way that suggests they're doing it for the comments (or the likes or the follows).
But just like anything else on the web, for every uninformed, implausible video there's an equally honest and fascinating take on Gen X culture.
2019 is proving a huge year for looking back after all this year marks the 30th anniversary of some of the pop world's touchstones.
To my mind, Madonna's Like A Prayer was 1989's most important pop artifact.
It may've been snubbed by the Grammys, but the press today is unanimous; Like A Prayer is a masterpiece, a game changer and currently the focus of a lot of praise.
I could bang on about how for years Like A Prayer was my favourite Madonna album but we live in a Millennial world, and it's increasingly up to them to decide what from our past was significant and important.
To that end, I've rounded up some of the most insightful and entertaining reactions to Like A Prayer's main videos after the jump.
On the Like A Prayer album, Madonna took her songwriting into more complex areas than ever before. The songs deftly mixed ideas of Catholicism, family and empowerment and its videos threw down the gauntlet to all other pop artists.
The Like A Prayer video remains one of the most controversial of all time.
The subject of intense debate, Mary Lambert's final video with Madonna is deceptively simple and deeply symbolic.
Its meaning seems to elude the vast majority of Reactors; the exception being this reaction from Brazil, in which 321powerReact nails all the symbolism and the racial/spiritual themes of the video. And bless him for singing along.
With Express Yourself Madonna, armed with a huge budget and David Fincher in the director's chair co-opted the Fritz Lang classic Metropolis into a futuristic gender bending showdown. It's a favourite among reactors, including Cvvrlos who usually ropes in his mum (and old Madonna fan) to his reactions.
When it comes to 80s musical journeys, Prince Shanghai is hard to beat for his reactions. He's got spades of personality and a mastery of Millennial slang.
You'll need to hop onto urban dictionary to get shook, wig, mood and bop but you'll love his reaction to Cherish, Like A Prayer's most effortless, carefree moment.
In Madonna, Prince Shanghai has found a righteous queen and you'll want to explore his journey into Madonna's pop catalogue further (especially Erotica and Bedtime Stories).
Like A Prayer was Madonna's most thoughtful and convincing proof of her artistry.
When it comes to Reactions, there's a world of youtube stars out there competing for your attention, but you'll be hard pressed to find one as endearing and eloquent as Sisley. She started her channel to overcome the boredom of her daily life and her enthusiasm for what she does is nothing short of infectious.
Her eye for detail and articulate take on music and music video making is probably unmatched among all the reactors I've seen. But the way she reacts to Oh Father, another Fincher film tribute (this time to Citizen Kane) is as moving as the song itself.
For a moment it looked like Madonna's place in the world of pop was shaky, but if these Millennials who are at various states in their discovery of her huge back catalogue are anything to go by, she may well just be paid her dues.
Dave Di Vito
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Dave Di Vito is a writer, teacher and former curator.He's also the author of the Vinyl Tiger series and Replace The Sky.
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