Bill Wurtz is an American musician and video creator; his works are distinct in their use of musical jingles and surreal colorful visuals. He initially focused on Vine videos with songs intermingled and had some success there, but eventually expressed a desire to create longer unrestricted videos. The result of this was history of japan, which swiftly went viral. After working 11 months on it, he presented the follow up, history of the entire world, i guess.
His videos provide examples of:
- all lowercase letters: Used most of the time in the text of his videos.
- Art Evolution: Bill's initial videos were relatively simple, consisting of more toned down fonts, colors and graphics. Over time his videos have gained more layers of filters and colors, and more recent videos have incorporated edited real life footage, blue screens and heavily involved mixing.
- Anti-Love Song: One verse of "i like" has this tone.
- Author Appeal: Love frequently is brought up, as well as the idea of going home or being where you belong. Marijuana and the concept of getting high (both for drugs and in a literal sense) also pop up at times. The concept of being okay, occasionally because of being wealthy, also appears often.
- Bait-and-Switch: Some videos run on this.
- Bizarre Taste in Food: Plastic.It tastes really good, and it's real special!note
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Bill's videos are filled with nonsense lyrics and quirky takes. Then he actually adds music and shows that he's a gifted singer and multi-instrumentalist (playing at least the guitar, bass, drums, keyboard, and piccolo). history of japan and history of the entire world, i guess demonstrates he's able to preserve these traits while providing more-or-less accurate history lessons.
- Captain Obvious: Physics lesson: Don't fall down.
- What's a note? This.
- Call-Back: "Mount St. Helens" has this when it features bits from "a Play" and "movie star" in the blimp segment.
- Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Calling Bill this would be an understatement.
- Deadpan Snarker: Runs throughout his works, like here.
- Department of Redundancy Department: "soap tips" has this when listing the qualities of two bars of soap ("soapy", "soap-like", "very soapy", "soap flavored", "has a soapy texture", "soapesque"). The fact it's pondering combining two bars of soap would also likely fall under this.
- First-Name Basis: On his questions page, Bill has expressed a dislike for being referred to as "Mr. Wurtz" and "Mr. Bill", preferring just Bill.
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": "steve" has to point out when answering a letter that isn't actually his name, but he doesn't care and he hasn't given his real name.
- Genre Shift: After "history of the entire world, i guess", Bill shifted focus from short-form skits to music videos.
- "I Want" Song: "i wanna be a movie star"... sort of. The chorus explicitly states it, though the verses expand on different sentiments than being a movie star. According to Bill the song is about "feelings, hopes and dreams, and the human experience in general".
- Jump Scare: "the dot video"
- Last Note Nightmare: "la de da".
- Lyrical Dissonance: His lyrics tend to not convey a lot of coherent meaning, but regardless, he tends to ignore some of their potentially dark implications. One example being an upbeat ditty called "Mount St. Helens is about to Blow Up", whose tonal dissonance is intentional to a degree."It's a good songwriting technique to write about something bad with a good-sounding melody, because if you can get people to feel good about something bad, then you're bulletproof in life."
- Mickey Mousing: Shows up quite often in his videos, with his "history of" videos featuring lots of synthetic noodling among his narration, occasionally bursting out of nowhere into little melodic jingles.
- Mundane Made Awesome: Bill makes a song out of the alphabet.
- Musicalis Interruptus: "steve"'s song after climbing the mountain is interrupted by some sort of mailbird.
- Overly Long Gag: the 'ngiueh' song.
- Phrase Salad Lyrics: Most of his song lyrics are built of phrases that are perfectly coherent on their own, but when put together as a song, they don't always form a proper narrative or consistent meaning to them (and no, Bill doesn't intend there to be). Take this excerpt from "La de da de da de da de day oh" as an example:I went down to the mall, then they closed down the mall
Guess they don't want me goin' to the mall, cause I'm just too small (too small for the mall!)
Then I built some trains, and I'm travelin' somewhere new
It's a wonderful world, but still no you
It's a wonderful world for two
- Rapid-Fire Comedy: Justified, as most of his videos were created for Vine. Even as he's moved away from it following the site's collapse, it's been a staple of his.
- Scatting: "La de da de da de da de day oh" naturally features a lot of this.
- Self-Deprecation: Pops up at times, like advice to young musicians, i'm a loser and i hate myself.
- Serial Escalation: After history of japan went viral he followed it up with history of the entire world, i guess, which aside from the broadened scope is nearly twice as long.
- Something Completely Different: Any video that is longer than ten seconds.
- Soundtrack Dissonance: Bill almost always has upbeat, jazzy and catchy jingles underneath bizarre, snarky or negative messages, like here.
- Take That!: His unboxing video is one of these towards unboxing videos and a few staples of YouTube videos.
- Uncommon Time: "i wanna be a movie star" goes all over the place with this. Much of it is in the already-uncommon 9/4 time, but each verse briefly shifts the meter, all of them asymmetrical and always in flux (sometimes switching to 12/4 or 13/4, and the bridge is in 9 measures of 3/4).
- The ending to "slow down" is in 7/4 time as well.
- The "violence. don't do it" jingle at the end of "ball and stick" is in 13/16.
- Unreliable Narrator: hi, i'm steve basically starts with the titular character admitting that his name isn't actually Steve. He brings this fact up again later. Then he ends the video saying "bye, i'm steve".
- Visual Pun: In the video for the song "outside", the lyrics "I'm leavin' on a different plane" are accompanied with the image of both an airliner and a Cartesian plane.
- What Is This Thing You Call "Love"?:
- Fruit? no
- Bread? no
- Fruit and bread? probably not
- Is it a conversation?note NOT LOVE
- Is it a fruitful sales deal? YES!note NO!note
- Is it a hearty breakfast?note mmm, my favorite brand
- Is it a four-lettered word you can use in various ways that are mostly positive?note Hell Yeah.
- X Meets Y: His songs can best be described as "if David Byrne did elevator music."