Hit Parade: Baauer - "Harlem Shake"

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Man, how about that internet? It is becoming increasingly clear as I indulge in this process how much the internet is responsible for what reaches the top of the Billboard Hot 100. More than that, it's about the YouTube it would seem. Psy's "Gangnam Style" never artworks-000023409834-9vze70-crop.jpgmade it to number one, but I get the feeling people loving that video on YouTube is a bit part of its rise to number two. Macklemore feels like an internet phenomenon as well. Now, a song that isn't even all that new is the top song in the land, and I can guarantee it is about the internet. The artist? Some dude named Baauer who is, I presume, a disc jockey. The song? A little ditty called "Harlem Shake."

I am not an internet video guy. I don't care about your viral videos and your memes and all that stuff. I'm not against it, I just don't bother with them. However, I am aware there is some sort of internet thing. Dancing and stuff is involved. It's popular now. It won't be in, like, a week. It happens. That's what makes this song being number one strange. My guess is that it isn't about the song at all. It could be any song. It's about the videos. People are downloading "Harlem Shake" for their own videos. They are watching "Harlem Shake" videos online. This song is almost number one by happenstance. Take that, The Beatles!

This isn't about the videos or the cultural ephemera, however. It's about the song, and as a song Baauer's "Harlem Shake" is, fittingly, quite inconsequential. My feelings about this song are passive. It's just a cookie cutter techno song. It's got some beats and some drops and all that stuff. There are few words in it. Two of them are "Harlem" and "Shake." Also, I feel like the song just repeats itself over its second half. It's a three minute song that could be 90 seconds or whatever. It was never made for the radio. It was made to be cut up into little 30 second bits for silly home movies, evidently.

I embarked on this project out of my interest in music, not in web culture and internet memes. Yet, as with Keyboard Cat, here the two have intertwined. "Harlem Shake" rode an internets phenomenon into the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100. In a couple weeks, it will be long forgotten.