This REO Speedwagon Cover is the Best Thing BlackBerry Ever Made

By Eric Limer on at

BlackBerry is trying to destroy the best thing it ever made. Not the line of hardware keyboard phones, or the less-relevant-than-ever BBM service. I'm talking about the music video. That mind-blowingly earnest and inexplicable REO Speedwagon cover about BlackBerry 10. It's gone now. What the fuck, BlackBerry?

I discovered this affront when went to go generate a GIF for a post about BlackBerry only to find tune has been removed. The takedown was relatively recent; I know this because for the past several years, I've been going back to watch it ever couple of months or so. It's that good. Above is a re-up. Watch it. K? Now watch it again.

Any split second of this masterpiece is a treasure trove of wonders. Take this wide shot:

This REO Speedwagon Cover Is the Best Thing BlackBerry Ever Made

Even through the poor quality of this re-up, you can see keyboardist, former VP Martyn Mallick's goofy goddamn grin blasting through the dark of the inexplicably empty warehouse like another spotlight. Also, black t-shirted guitarist former FP Christopher Smith rocking out like some rip-off Steve Jobs.

Front man, former VP Alec Saunder, steals the show though. His button-down short-sleeve shirt is only narrowly out-nerded by his "awkward noodle arms at my sides" rockstar stance, and when we get to the close-ups—and there are so many close-ups—I just can't even.

This REO Speedwagon Cover Is the Best Thing BlackBerry Ever Made

This REO Speedwagon Cover Is the Best Thing BlackBerry Ever Made

This REO Speedwagon Cover Is the Best Thing BlackBerry Ever Made

Whoever said transition lenses weren't hip as hell.

There are just so many good parts. Where Alec just completely fails to convincingly lip-sync a trill at 1:10, or his thumbs up at :51. Where Martyn harmonises to "updated SDK" at 1:37. Or the set change and Christopher's ridiculous outside guitar solo at 1:57.

On top of that, these guys aren't just singing about a phone operating system that everyone knew would probably not be great and wasn't out at the time. They are singing to its potential developers about the specifics of the development platform with a literally unbelievable and totally disarming earnestness.

  • Our updated SDK is really cool
  • The API's complete; we just wanna keep on loving you
  • Devs are the heart of our mobile endeavour

They meant that, man. They fucking meant it.

It's that earnestness that really sells the song, more than any HTC rap or rap about cloud storage. In September of 2012, BlackBerry was in a baaaaad way. This wasn't (just) a (horrible) publicity stunt; it is an frank and honest plea from one group of nerds to another, dressed up in a self-effacing spectacle that comes off as sliiiiightly more genuine than funny in a way that makes it both funnier, and sadder, and infinitely more interesting. There are so many layers here. This is cringe for connoisseurs, and I mean it when I say I genuinely love this thing.

I'm not sure why the original video has disappeared all of a sudden. I can't quite tell—YouTube is pretty good about its takedowns—but I think the entire channel that posted the video has been deleted. The vid had been up for years after the fact, so unless BlackBerry's sense of shame came later than BB10 did, my guess is that it's some sort of collateral damage. I've reached out to BlackBerry for comment (and to earnestly insist that they re-upload it). In the meantime I've got a copy on my computer, just in case. The internet will never forget this, nor should it.