Over the past month or so, I have wasted an inordinate amount of time watching two guys watch and react to music videos. It started–as so many of my YouTube rabbit holes do–with Jason Isbell. But it quickly led to Chris Stapleton and Amanda Lambert…and even some Alanis Morrissette.
Here’s the premise: Ryan and George, two black men , listen to music you might not expect them to like (based on stereotypes), and they react. I don’t think I have ever wanted to be friends with two people as much as I want to be friends with Ryan and George.
Their openheartedness is contagious, and watching them try not to cry during Jason Isbell’s “If We Were Vampires” is, well, downright endearing. (Isbell says it took him a long time to be able to perform the song for his wife without crying, and frankly, it has the same effect on me. It may be the best song of my lifetime…at least until Isbell’s next album.)
There is something so refreshing about these guys. At a time when our country is more divided than ever, and not only are people from different sides of the political divide at each other’s throats, but people who agree on paper can’t stop dragging each other down for every little misstep, I love watching people who are reaching out …even if its just a musical lines. (Listen to Conversations With People Who Hate Me if you want to sink into some serious dialog between people who fundamentally disagree.) Now, if we could just get a couple of white metalheads from the Midwest to do the same thing with hip-hop and R&B, maybe we could bridge the divide. Ryan and George can’t do it alone.