This must be a week of video “firsts.” A couple of days ago, Bob Dylan released an interactive, 16-channel flip-through video for his classic hit “Like a Rolling Stone.” Today, R&B artist/rapper/producer Pharrell Williams has released the first-ever 24-hour music video for his tune “Happy” off the Despicable Me 2 soundtrack.
In a nutshell, the video plays the song “Happy” on repeat while person after person sings and/or dances in various public places over a full 24-hour period, noon to noon, and literally finishes full-circle so that if you are obsessed enough, you can play the video in an endless loop. The 24-hour video features the occasional celebrity cameo, including Steve Carrell, Bonnie McKee, Jimmy Kimmell, Magic Johnson, and others—and of course, Pharrell himself. Each rendition of the song is basically done as one take, with seamless cuts done between them in the tradition of Hitchcock’s Rope.
Okay, so from one perspective, it’s hard to look at this one as more than a publicity stunt. (Come on, guys…how many of us are really going to watch 24 hours of this? Disclaimer: I haven’t.) Thankfully, Pharrell has made it easy to scan through it with an interactive interface at 24hoursofhappy.com (provided you can get it to load—Safari kept locking up trying to load it, and I had to try Firefox). You can skip a full song length forward or backward using the left/right arrows, or click to any point in the video on the 24-hour dial in the center. Pretty ingenious, actually.
And to the song and video’s credit, “Happy” is a pretty catchy tune, and you’ll likely find yourself smiling as you watch a lot of different people dance, sing, and otherwise get into the song. (Heck, you might even want to make your own video.) But fair warning: I defy anyone to watch this entire video all the way through without being absolutely sick of the song when the video is done. Or just sick, period.