Jonathan Jensen isn’t just a bassist in the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, he’s a terrific composer and arranger. He leveraged the latter skills to write Blast Off!, an anthem for the US Space Force, and posted a video of him performing the work on Facebook. It went viral the same day; at the time this article was written, it racked up 157k views and 3.7k shares.
Regardless where you fall on the political spectrum, you’re going to have a good time. Image Carl Stalling wrote Monty Python tunes and you’ll be on the right track.
Tip: you may need to unmute the volume.
I reached out to Jenson to learn more about why he decided to write the song.
I’ve been writing snarky and satirical songs since I was a kid, said Jenson. “Social media has given me a way to get my stuff out to the world in a way I couldn’t before. Actually I’ve written serious songs along with all kinds of compositions and arrangements. Some of them I’m very proud of, though few people have heard them. Then I dash off a silly song, put on a costume and record a video on my cellphone, and suddenly I’ve hit the jackpot.
It IS fun watching this take off. I just hope some of my best work will someday get this kind of attention.
I had a video do very well a few months ago. A friend posted a photo of a wintry landscape, with the words “April, my ass!” (he lives in Mass.) I told him jokingly that I would write a song with that title. Next thing I know, I sat down and wrote the song, and dashed off a video at my piano, wearing a parka. It seemed to strike a chord, and I was amazed to see it get shared 1,000 times.
This has blown that effort out of the water, but I guess it’s similarly topical and current. “April. my Ass” had a short shelf life, but this will probably be around for a while.
I had posted previously about the Space Force, making fun of the idea. Someone commented that I should write them an official song. So I guess there’s a certain demand for a kind of Tom Lehrer-ian topical song, and I’ll see if I can come up with something equally popular in the future.
If you’ll indulge a little reminiscing, I had the pleasure of working with Jenson during my time in Baltimore <cough>20 years ago</cough>. Since he mentioned his best work getting attention, I highly recommend his absolutely lovely string orchestra arrangement of Ponce’s Estralita that we performed during a benefit concert with the Bel Air Chamber Orchestra (along with having Jenson in the ensemble). #GoodTimes