A Place on YouTube to Share Your Story and Listen to Relaxing Music: The YouTube Checkpoint
It’s late at night sometime in your distant future. Maybe, you’ve just got off the late shift at work or it’s a Saturday and you’re back from a night out with some of your friends. Either way, you find yourself alone in your bed with the YouTube app open on your phone. You might suddenly be having an existential fit or something like that. You need to take your mind off of it. Now.
You don’t really feel like ‘watching’ — you’re a bit too drunk or tired. Not so tired that you’re ready to sleep so, you stumble and click on an interesting looking video in your recommended tab. Your recommendations are all established by the YouTube algorithm. It wants you to watch as many videos as possible. However, today it has really led you into someplace special. This place is the known as the YouTube checkpoint or ‘the end of Youtube’ by some.
The Original Checkpoint
This video by taia777 seems to be the O.G. checkpoint. The video itself is really simplistic. A bunch of vines cover the screen with some moving clouds in the background. However, the music is the real focal point here. The song is ‘Stickerbush Symphony’ from Donkey Kong Country, but unless you’ve played the game before, it feels like a soundtrack that was designed for a bunch of snowboarding stoners getting ready to bomb a hill. I’m not sure if that’s just a term used by long-boarders or for snowboarders as well (forgive me).
It has a warm feeling to it. It’s ambient-like, but with just enough nostalgia packed into it to spur reflection and openness. At least, that’s how I and many other commenters who visited the video felt.
There are hundreds of people sharing their life stories in the comment section. And no, they are not bragging about how they’re driving Ferraris and throwing racks at strip-clubs. It’s a checkpoint — A place to recuperate, reflect and consider the next couple steps. There are whole paragraphs of people sharing hardships and aspirations for their future. Many replies are also there that encourage these posters. It’s a very wholesome side of YouTube. Here are some of my favorite (and much shorter) comments.
Megrim: Everyone on YouTube makes a pilgrimage here someday.
whatchamajig: The Japanese person that posted this video is probably thinking westerners are nuts commenting their life issues on a Donkey Kong Country 2 song
Succeeds: CHECKPOINT: Life Isn’t easy, we didn’t sign up for easy. To be honest, I don’t think we signed up for anything. That being said, we will break the sky and reach the limit.
The fun doesn’t end there. If you click on other videos by taia777, you’ll find that the conversation is very much the same. How deep does the rabbit hole go? There’s only one way to find out.
Watering a Flower
Apparently, Haroumi Hosono composed this album for in-store background music in 1984. And today, it somehow ended up on the internet. Thank god for that. The first track is ‘Talking’ and it’s about 15 minutes long. There’s no talking, just an overwhelming feeling that you’ve entered the most peaceful Japanese convenience store on planet earth. This is background music after all, but when you’re barely awake, stoned, or coming home to a warm bed after a long day, it becomes a little bit more than that.
This one isn’t technically a checkpoint, but I have very strong memories of nostalgia tied to the opening track. Like the previous video, it instills heavy feelings of nostalgia and reminiscing about past events that lead up to now. One of these memories is a snowed-in day during my student teaching year. For a moment, I felt like a kid again. While the snow outside the apartment window poured down, I spent the rest of the day drinking tea and playing super smash brothers with my roommate.
It made me consider the importance of memories within our lives, and the fact that I never truly appreciated the good times when they were happening. I guess the saying is “Stop and smell the roses”. I wonder if there are good times going on right now that I’m ignorant of. I hope I wake up to them.
Like the previous video, this one is a breeding ground for openness and creativity. There are so many people sharing memories, jokes, and analogies for the album. Like the checkpoint, it’s a place to reflect and consider where life has taken us thus far. Here are some of my favorite comments from this one.
dmsanct: This is like waking up at 3am because you are hungry. So you head to the kitchen, and find out a giant insect already sticking some marmalade between two slices of bread. The insect offers the sandwich to you, as a sign of respect. You take a bite out of it, and start crying tears of joy. It’s a beautiful sandwich, and the winter is coming to an end
esso: this music is like waking up after sleeping for thousands of years and finding out you’re the only person left on the planet and everything’s really overgrown with plants and moss and there are wild animals wandering everywhere
BradTheProducer: A new service allows you to pay for someone else to use your body to do your day to day tasks for you, like shopping, bookkeeping and gardening. While they perform the monotonous tasks in your corporeal form, your soul sits in a warmly lit, sparsely decorated room that exists nowhere, listening to this music.
If you haven’t already clicked on one of the two videos, well then, don’t! Save it for when you’re high, drunk or tired. That’s not to say you can’t enjoy these videos/songs without being intoxicated or anything like that. I just think being open to the experience is important. It’s sort of like going to a temple or preparing to meditate. You have to be in the right headspace to get the most out of the experience. What will you reflect on when the right video finds you?
Also, if you have any other checkpoint-like videos, please share them with me. I am always looking to expand my collection of nostalgia-inducing music.