Baauer – Harlem Shake

First Hit #1: March 2, 2013

Harlem Shake’s ascent to the top of the chart is due to precisely one reason: Including Youtube views in chart calculations. The bit of silly dance music was not there on it’s musical merits, it’s there for an odd joke that cropped up in the early part of the decade, where people would make wacky dance videos set to the song. It is, in fact, a hit song where the song has very little to do with why it’s actually a hit.

Outside of the videos though, is there anything worth listening to on its own? Well it’s got a decent build at one section, though that is undercut by the fact that it seems to be sampling an angry bear drinking a slurpee. It’s in a kind of nebulous area between goofy and annoying, and I can’t imagine listening to it on a regular basis. It serves its function, and it does work as the background for something else, but as a song on its own it just makes one wonder if Billboard’s streaming calculations might have needed a bit more work.

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One Response to Baauer – Harlem Shake

  1. musicosity1 says:

    Whaaaa…… I never…… Um……

    Ahem. Part of me wants to be happy that a non-traditional song would climb to the top of the charts. Fifty years ago, experimentalists in musique concrete lamented the stranglehold that traditional song structures and traditional instrumentation had on the listening (and purchasing) public. This song comes closer to realizing that goal than anything we’ve ever seen on this chart, and it’s also the first (essentially) instrumental we’ve seen in forever. But like the last claimant to that throne, C+C Music Factory, Baauer has said everything he has to say in the first thirty seconds, and the last 2:45 minutes are only there because for some reason we don’t count thirty second songs as being songs anymore.

    So as an individual track, this is one that would quickly have me reaching for the fast forward button. But as a toe in the pool of musical diversity, I hope it will one day be considered the inept progenitor of a more compelling brood.

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