Bill Murray and Paul Shaffer’s “Happy Street”

If this song were made by anyone besides Bill Murray and Paul Shaffer, it might be too corny to be metamodern, but it is by Bill Murray and Paul Shaffer, so… we’re feeling obliged to ask, IS THIS METAMODERN?  Is there a hint of a wink/nod/ironic flavor and then a knowing rerouting to the sincere behind this happy song, standard in so many Bill Murray projects? Does there need to be? Or is Bill Murray’s cultural capital as a figure often associated with projects that are themselves the subject of metamodern analyses enough to carry it into that epistemic terrain?

It seems important to state that we don’t feel metamodernism is about being happy, necessarily. It’s certainly not about ignoring personal pain or institutional abuses and pretending that “looking on the bright side!” is an option equally available to all (which would be one reading–albeit cynical, but, also fair–of this song and video). Metamodernism is relational, though. And this video shows the personal (the Tiny) galvanizing the group or community en force (the Epic) to create meaning. Even if for one moment–i.e., right now.

Also, the presence of Paul Shaffer, someone who made his name as part of David Letterman’s Late Night – which arguably did more to instantiate postmodern always-already ironic culture than any other show on TV – deserves attention. If Shaffer can write and lend his name to this unironically earnest song, that should tell us something about metamodern sentiments becoming more acceptable in today’s pop culture.

So, what do you think?

Leave a Reply