Jamel v. Mid-Music Crisis

You’ve heard of a midlife crisis, but is there such a thing as a mid-music crisis?

A time when music has lost its shine and you’ve heard it all before? The new stuff sounds derivative and you’ve forgotten exactly why you took to your old favourites?

Well, an antidote may be at hand, in the shape of Jamel_AKA_Jamal (Jamel Griffin), a YouTuber and music fan from South Central Los Angeles. Born in 1980, he was brought up mainly on hip-hop but also a kind of shared American music heritage, so he’s familiar with ‘classic rock’ staples of the last 50 years without necessarily being able to identify bands or artists.

On his YouTube channel, he’s been seeking viewer recommendations for ‘reaction’ videos (put simply, he films his reactions to hearing a ‘new’ track, and responds in real time). As far as I can make out, thus far the tunes have mainly been of a rockist bent (Rush, ZZ Top, Mr Bungle, Living Colour, Doobie Brothers), but then I came across his take on Steely Dan.

His spontaneous reactions reveal a shrewd interpretation of the lyrics and a rare appreciation for the music. He also reminds me exactly why I loved the band in the first place, bringing the joy and soul of a true fan. With added humour. I’m now bingeing on his excellent Steely vids, but it all started here: