Slop

Cosmic Slop #113: The Most Popular Video On YouTube

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Fri 14 July, 2017

Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth have overtaken Gangnam Style as the most popular video on YouTube, but Shaun Ponsonby finds it the musical equivalent of a Happy Meal toy.

Big news for Psy fans this week.

You know, Psy? The Korean Gangnam Style guy?

It seems Gangnam Style is no longer the most viewed video on YouTube. When it was released in 2012, it became the first video to reach one billion views, and has kept the top spot ever since.

I have mixed feelings about Gangnam Style. I don’t like it, but I think it is better than it is given credit for. The popularity in the west was no doubt based on “Haha! Foreigners are funny!” But in Korea, it actually has a satirical meaning – the Gangnam District in Seoul is a place populated by hipsters and posers. Like Lark Lane.

But, yes, internet fame is fleeting. And now he has been overtaken by See You Again, a 2013 track by Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth that was a monster hit everywhere – except Korea, ironically, where it just barely scraped into the Top 40.

It has now racked up 2,895,373,709 views, which adds up to 21,759 years of continuous play. 25,645 if bathroom and vomit breaks are accounted for.

This is surprising for two reasons. Firstly, it’s horrible, sterile and void of anything coming close to real emotion. Secondly, it was written in tribute to Paul Walker, and, no disrespect, but I didn’t think he was famous enough to become such a cultural touchstone.

If you don’t remember who Paul Walker was – and, believe me, I didn’t – he was an actor from the Fast and the Furious movies. In fairness, this ain’t my scene. I remember seeing the first one on TV years ago, thought it was a piece of shit, and then became increasingly shocked when it continued on and on (and on) as a franchise. Because if watching a bunch of cars racing and smashing shit up was thrilling the first time, you bet your sweet arse it will be exhilarating the 99th time.

I had no idea that there was so much widespread affection for him. To be fair, I have never really felt affection, just a palpable sense of relief when I leave the room. But he wasn’t really in many other popular movies – I have no recollection of Pawn Shop Chronicles or Noel. He wasn’t an icon like David Bowie or Prince.

As much as I don’t want to trivialise the emotional need for the cast, crew and Walker’s friends and family who must have been devastated to pay tribute to him, movies in The Fast and The Furious franchise are action films with little plot or substance, where people speed through streets in cars and smash into things. They’re hardly reach for the tissues films, which makes its appearance in Furious 7 a bit out of character.

And then there is the song itself. Leaving aside that Wiz Khalifa is obviously the single most qualified man to pay tribute to a man who has recently died, how much of a touching tribute can a corporate commercial tie-in really be? This is the musical equivalent to the little toy of a character in the new Disney film that you get in a Happy Meal. And it sounds like it. Those Millennial Woops in the chorus would be right at home in an advert for Henry Hoovers.

This is how this song was written; The studio decided to get rapper Wiz Khalifa to perform the main song for the soundtrack because he performed a song on the previous soundtrack. As Wiz only really knows about cars and hos, they get songwriters to submit a song to order. Out of those submitted they ultimately choose one, and bastardise it, letting Wiz take his vague verses where he only half arses taking inspiration from the actual chorus, making the whole thing sound disjointed and cobbled together.

A real tear jerker, I’m sure you’ll agree.

The songwriter in question here is Charlie Puth, or Puthbot 3000 as I have decided to call him. Singing a bunch of clichéd nonsense about seeing Walker (who he’d never met) in the afterlife, with all the expression of a stick of celery. He’s trying hard to emote, but he just comes across like what someone who comes sixth in X Factor thinks you’re supposed to do to show emotion.

I mean, has the Puthbot ever felt any actual emotions? Technically, he’s on point, but performance-wise, he’s basically staring up his own bumhole, looking smug as he smells his own musical farts.

I’m guessing it isn’t all the die-hard Paul Walker fans out there that have racked up nearly three billion views of this song, but it’s too offensively bland to be an appropriate funeral song for anyone either. It’s too vague. It’s like boyband songs that refer to “you” in the lyrics so that the girls listening think they’re singing about them. Surely, when someone you love dies, you want something that says something about them specifically, even if it is something as clichéd as Always Look On The Bright Side of Life.

I beg of you, if I die, write a better tribute song for me. Not that anyone likes me enough to write a song and make a big budget video in my honour. God, I’m so desperately lonely.

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