On Oct. 21, comedic musician Rob Cantor released his masterpiece, one of the greatest items of creative performance that could only have been produced by the Internet age. I speak, as many of you have surely guessed, of Shia LaBeouf.
The song, named after the titular film star, began its life of Internet fame back in 2012 after being posted by Cantor on his online portfolio. Then, the denizens of the Internet got their hands on it and started creating little flash animations to go along with the song. The lyrics to the piece are something of a narrative, portrayed entirely in the second-person, as the protagonist (“you”) are pursued through the woods on a dark night by none other than Shia LaBeouf, who, for the purposes of this song, is a not-so-friendly cannibalistic lunatic. The song is bloody and ridiculous (bloody ridiculous?). After a couple weeks of internet buzz the song faded, as most viral YouTube videos do, into relative Internet obscurity.
Then, this year, it came back with a vengeance. Seemingly out of nowhere, Cantor dropped a full-blown music video for the song, complete with an all new additional verse, a famous dude, oversized paper mache faces, a Citizen Kane homage, and, dare I say it, an interpretive dance routune! It features a professional men’s choir (more than appropriately; The Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles), a children’s choir and a professional instrumental quartet. The contrast between the professionalism and meticulousness of the artistry with the unabashed absurdity of the lyrics makes for what may be the single funniest (or at least the most inventive) YouTube video that has been produced this year.
One of the most interesting things about this new and improved rendition of the song is how it perfectly reflects LaBeouf’s current public image. Back when the song originally released, LaBeouf was a fairly different public figure; a largely unthought-of child star trying to find his way into dramatic roles and kickstart a career as an adult actor. The song was humorous at the time largely because it’s nearly impossible to imagine somebody as innocuous as LaBeouf murdering people and eating their dead bodies. However, LaBeouf’s escapades since then, including but hardly limited to; run-ins with police, walking out of press conferences, wearing a paper bag over his head at a red carpet event, and staging performance art where he sits and cries silently at attendees, have entirely flipped his image in popular culture. Also: he’s been in some strange movies, one of which all he really does is have a ton of sex. Suddenly, the idea of LaBeouf being a deranged lunatic doesn’t seem so crazy, because truthfully, he kinda is. Seeing LaBeouf stand and applaud at the end of the video somehow leaves one with the impression that LaBeouf staged his own masterwork here, a glorious, musical opus, a grand design of worship to (now) Hollywood’s foremost unpredictably crazy person.
There’s no express reason for any of it to exist, there’s no explanation for how all these seemingly impossible pieces came together into one, brief YouTube video. And yet, here it is, as shocking and unexplainable as its subject, yet, in a similar way to LaBeouf, a strangely endearing experience where a lot of people are said to die. Hopefully people are paying attention to Cantor’s creativity here and maybe even give him a different creative platform to evolve in, or at least copy his ideas. Here’s to someone making a future video of “Lindsey Lohan: The Boogie Monster.”
words_ andrew allen. video_youtube.