“Let The Beat Build,” Nyle

This is how you make a music video. Watch the video and if the greatness isn’t immediately apparent, I have composed a 2.5-minute explanation.

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I'm Dan and this is my blog. I'm a former high school math teacher and current head of teaching at Desmos. He / him. More here.


  1. I liked how he bumped the trombone by accident at 1:58 and apologizes while continuing the song. It’s part of that unpretentious thing.

    “dude’s acting like they street when they barely sidewalk”

  2. For me this is a good example of the difference in how someone who really knows and understands the finer points of video production and editing (Dan) views the video compared to how I viewed it.

    I watched the video twice before listening to your explanation. I found it original, appreciated the uncut steady cam work, and really enjoyed the premise and music. I cued in on the lyrics, on the instruments and how they added towards the final climax. It probably would’ve taken me another 20 views to pick up on the quick swivels used to transition to new instruments and never would’ve seen the “video as a three act story.”

    Reminiscent of a recent post here- I’m probably not the person who should be teaching students how to make great videos. I’ve got enough understanding (IMO) to teach other digital media, but video ain’t one of them.

    “…music comes from someone in transition.” As someone in transition this year, this lyric hit me hard. New perspectives lead to analysis of old practice and hopefully new (& improved) practice.

    Other than that I found the random reference to the direct to DVD “Aladdin: Return of Jafar” great- definitely added to the unpretentious and light-hearted tone of the video.

  3. I do appreciate you bringing this one to my attention. I’m going to see what else he’s got.

    You nailed it with the serious fun comment. That’s a beautiful thing to capture.

    The only part that didn’t mesh for me was the female dancer at the end. She was the only one who didn’t seem to be in the moment, having fun (mouthing lyrics she ought to be yelling) and she was just too into staring at the the camera. She bothers me every time.

  4. Come on, serious? I mean, to each his own, but that there is a dancer and a serious one at that, not the sort of objectified stripper one usually finds on the set of a rap video.

    The video is basically dripping with goodwill to every race, gender, and artistic discipline the entire way through. You fellas really think they tripped at the finish line?

  5. You don’t think she was objectified, even a little? Check Nyle’s reaction to her entrance at 3:07. Everything from the “That’s how you let the beat…ooh” to the facial expressions doesn’t seem to be saying,”I really respect your talent.” It screams, “look at that body.”

    I love everything else about it. So much respect and goodwill. You’re definitely right about that. Either way, it was worth the 10 or so watches I gave it today.

  6. In another video I don’t think I’d notice at all but everyone else there seems to be having, what you’d mentioned, serious fun.

    No one else is eyeballing the camera like they’d been coached.

    No one else there seems like they’re faking having a good time.

    Compare her to the backup singer who’s having to re-adjust her glasses, who is really into the moment.

    It doesn’t kill the video for me or anything but it’s something that bothers me, especially with her being one of the last additions and such a conspicuous one.

    And I know you, of all people, aren’t getting on someone for being too picky. Right?

  7. David & Tom –

    I’ve watched the video exactly once this morning, but I kinda had a similar reaction to the dancer. I didn’t pick up on anything as nuanced as the singer’s reaction to her or pick out the specifics of her mugging for the camera, but while the video was playing I was “in a zone.”

    Head bobbing – enjoying it immensely –

    And when the dancer came out I was immediately snapped out of this experience and reminded that I was watching a rap video. It wasn’t anything I could explicitly put my finger on, but somehow she is just so jarringly different from the rest of the video.

    Now I do feel like I’m being too picky, but David and Tom’s comments really clarified exactly what was so “off” about that one little thing. And besides, I read this great blog where this kind of dissection is encouraged so I figure I’m learning! ;-)

    I wouldn’t go so far as to say he “blew it at the finish line,” because I loved the video and will definitely watch it again. But it was definitely something that I picked up on as not “fitting” within the rest of the context.

    Overall I really enjoyed it! Thanks for sharing this! It made my Monday morning a little more fun.

  8. Here’s where I stand on this:

    I agree with everyone that this was a pretty good video. Different, sure, but it was pretty smooth overall. Helps that it’s on Vimeo, too. Yet, I also see lots of people took exception to the young lady dancing at the end, and wondering whether it was a means of exploitation.

    From my eyes, I say no, and the reason I say that is BECAUSE it’s in the same vibe as the rest of the video. It’s people just having fun. There’s a difference between a woman objectifying herself and a woman dancing sensually (and to add, she wasn’t even dancing scandalously). Now, if Nyle smacked her rear or swiped a credit card through it, I would completely agree with the point about objectification.

    However, I saw that last dance scene as her just dancing. Now, it definitely struck me as odd much like it struck Scott as odd, but gratuitous? Not that much.

  9. Scott: And besides, I read this great blog where this kind of dissection is encouraged so I figure I’m learning!

    Far be it from me to discourage nitpicking. Thanks for keeping it on message, people. Let’s do this again some time.

  10. One thing I’ve learned from following Dan is that “nitpicking” can be done in a way that is constructive; in a way that helps us learn and grow.

    Unfortunately, it can also be done in a way that just frustrates folks when all you ever do is find the negative.

    The trick is to do a lot of the former and avoid the latter. After all, if we look hard enough we can find fault with almost anything. To get better – to improve the quality of what we do (teach, administrate, make music, take pictures, direct videos…) we need to open our eyes to everything we can. Take it all in. And when something doesn’t sit well with us, we need to be able to articulate why it doesn’t work for us.

    Heck – I was proud of myself that I even noticed anything in this video — even if I didn’t have any idea what I was noticing until I came here to comment.

    I enjoy this kind of discourse very much.

  11. The video gets better the more I watch it. I’m a little surprised you didn’t link the video and then come back in a few days with your thoughts.

    Seems like this would be ideal for something like that.

  12. Can you help me see how that is different than saying “go watch this video, then come back and watch this explanation.”?

  13. You’re probably right, there isn’t much difference here. Just thinking that your explanation could influence all of the comments below.

    If you showed this to a group of students, would you have handed out the explanation before discussion? (Honest question, I know I wouldn’t and doubt you would.)

  14. Yeah, real fun there.

    I appreciated the fact that Spoon didn’t try to pull off the camera sleight of hand that Nyle did, rushing musicians into place while the camera looked the other way. This is a totally picky point, I realize, but the effort has always distracted me in the Nyle video.

    To Nyle’s credit, his song sounds like a live, one-take track: little breathy moments, some notes held a little too long or short, artists fading in and out organically, not by a volume slider. Spoon’s track, to my ears, is indistinguishable from the version I heard on the album. Great track, but an opportunity somewhat squandered.

    Thanks for bringing it to my attention.