P.S. 22's Choir Tackles St. Vincent's "Digital Witness" and It's Pretty Freaky — VIDEO
The manic charm of St. Vincent's "Digital Witness" is bouncy and erratic, making it an arguably perfect choice for the kooky combination that is a bunch of young kids singing along. But there's something about a bunch of children sweetly singing the lyrics to a song about the nefarious grasp social media has on many people these days that leave us weirdly uncomfortable. And yet, the insanely popular YouTube celebrities that are the P.S. 22 school choir in Staten Island have done just that. And well, um, it's strange and unsettling. Even for big fans of St. Vincent such as us Bustlers are.
The song is, essentially, about the social media zombification of society and how its sneaky tethers have turned us all into validation-seeking monsters. Which is interesting coming from a bunch of children — particularly ones who spend part of their time creating videos to be posted onto YouTube. As the lyrics state: "Digital witnesses / What's the point of even sleeping? / If I can't show it if you can't see me? / What's the point of doing anything?" Anyone else slightly distrusting of the irony there and their ability to really get what it all means?
After all, these are all kids who have no idea, really, just how different the world was before the advent of the Internet. Some of them probably have Instagram accounts. Their parents likely snap photos before quipping things like, "I have to upload this to Facebook immediately." Their real and digital life are one and the same now — they literally don't know any different — so there's something sort of strange about the idea of them emphatically singing along to stuff like, "What's the point of even sleeping? / So I stopped sleeping yeah / I stopped sleeping / Won't somebody sell me back to me?" Right? Is this just me? Could it be that this unsettling feeling was part of the choir director's point the whole time? I don't know, but either way I just don't think I like the combinations of sentiments very much. Cutesy kids miming playfully distract the viewer from the song's ultimate message, and that sort of ruins the point.