In case you arrived at this post looking for me to critique the heck out of the video, I'm sorry to disappoint you. Rather, I'm going to address something else: the new form of revolting critical comments that people are posting on Jewish blogs (such as mine and Sterngrad's) as well as on Youtube regarding the Maccabeats and their new music video.
This is rant, so be prepared.
There is nothing inherently wrong in the way that Sterngrad wrote that there are elements in "The Purim Song" which don't quite live up to "Candlelight," such as the song choice, repeated imagery, etc. That's having a keen eye and writing honestly about what parts of the content shown in the video didn't quite work for her as a viewer. I can respect a difference of opinions like this post.
Then there are guys who like to mouth off unintelligibly, like "The Prof" and "Burnt Dreadlocks" who remark that the video or the Maccabeats are "gay," then elaborate on their opinions. Another commenter on Youtube "Lothiras" goes on long diatribes defending why he is justified in derogatorily referring to the video and the members of the Maccabeats as "gay."
None of them are in any way doing anything other than shoving both feet further and further down their own throats.
Burnt Dreadlocks wrote in defense of his claim that the Elvis curl worn by Buri Rosenberg in the video is gay by writing "Still, only a certain type of person can mutilate themselves in such a way." "Mutilate?" Someone who decides to split their tongue, insert pieces of metal under the layers of their facial skin, or otherwise surgically and irreparably remove or alter a portion of their anatomy - now that is "mutilation." Clearly, "as a native californian" he is simply overtly homophobic, reads into things, and can't keep his comments to himself.
"The Prof" who also clamored on about Buri's Elvis curl saying "Little things like that drive me nuts!" and then after I wrote that it fits the costume, "I just find the whole thing quite gay. The fountainheads did a much better job." Lastly, when I asked for clarification if he was using "gay" as a slur or literally, he replied "I mean it quite literally. I know that they obviously arent, its just the way they are singing. " Um, why?
Aside from the fact that these two commenters write things that make me suspicious they are one person, the whole discussion is ridiculous and offensive to anyone, homosexual or heterosexual - basically, anyone with a brain who can think.
What about the video seems "gay?" I don't see anything stereotypical, or anything not stereotypically homosexual about what is shown in the video whatsoever. You can say that you liked the Fountainhead version better, that's totally your opinion. But to go on and on about the fact that the Maccabeats are somehow "gay" with no legitimate cause (or at all for that matter) is beyond stupid.
The fact that the members of the Maccabeats have appealing physical features and good voices - that makes them gay? The fact that they sing as a group somewhat reminiscent of boy bands from the late 90's like N' Sync or the Backstreet Boys makes them gay? The fact that they generally depict only men (with the exception of a few little girls in this video) make them gay? Does hanging around at a Purim Seudah with little kids make them gay - is that insinuating that they molest small children?
Or are you upset because the Maccabeats are trying to be as far reaching as possible in their video's appeal to all sectors of observant Judaism and don't depict women dancing or singing? Not to critique the religious observance of The Fountainheads or their video, but are you more interested in their version because it shows women who sing, dance, and wear pants? I don't believe they had an irreligious agenda with their video - they did it for fun just as the Maccabeats have and geared their video toward a different crowd. But because the Maccabeats don't appeal to your heterosexual drive by not featuring attractive women doing things that might make you excited, you decide they're "gay?"
It's particularly troublesome to see that at least some of the people making these comments are seemingly learned, religious people and yet, don't "get it." Just because the larger portion of Maccabeat fans are girls because they admittedly find them handsome and enjoy their voices, and that doesn't appeal to you - you decide to pull out your unsurprisingly limited supply of derogatory and insulting comments?
True, there were plenty of comments coming from both men and women - all irreligious or gentile (most infamously Gaby Dunn)- when Candlelight was released that suggested the Maccabeats "spice" up their videos with "hot" women or by making the Maccabeats themselves appear "sexier" to the female perspective. I can't blame those people for making these comments - they enjoyed the video for what it was, but also have a standard in their mind for what defines successful musical artists and their music videos: sex appeal.
The Maccabeats clearly have no desire to be just another group in the pritzus-filled society that surrounds and envelopes us everywhere in the world nowadays. To that, I say kol hakavod! Who needs seductive images that stimulate the sex drive when you have catchy vocal performances, beautifully cinematic visuals, and doses of engaging humor thrown in for good measure? The success of the Maccabeats has nothing to do with these baser elements that the vast majority of secular artists out there (I won't say all, since I'm no expert in current pop-music) use to achieve their fame and make their money?
The Maccabeats aren't out there for fame and fortune. As they say on their website and repeated in various forms during the multitude of interviews they gave during "Candlelight's" rise to fame, their motivation is to entertain and educate, spreading positive messages about Judaism because they are "Strongly committed to the philosophy of Torah u-Madda, the integration of traditional and secular wisdom..."
I am so very proud of what my fellow YU students and alumni have accomplished. As I wrote about in my post summing up my thoughts on the success of "Candlelight," I think all the publicity is deserved and wonderful. This is the type of news and media attention that Orthodox Jews need, and we are all truly blessed by the beautiful response by so many people out there who watch these videos, Jew and gentile alike.
My message to all the guys - and they are almost all guys - who remark how "gay" the Maccabeats and "The Purim Song" is, start thinking with your brains and not some other part of your anatomy.
Enjoy the music for what it is, listen to the overt positive messages the Maccabeats and Uri Westrich are trying to convey, and if you have nothing nice or constructive to say, please shut up.