Eight of the greatest music memes on YouTube

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Eight of the greatest music memes on YouTube

How to Write an Alt-J Song

Remember that weird era of indie rock where Alt-J were touted as being the next Radiohead? As well all know, that never really eventuated, and Alt-J kind of just became a weird sign-of-the-times band – possibly sabotaged by over-eager music critics aiming to sustain the stranglehold of the late ’00s indie bloom.


However, their short time in the limelight did produce one timeless classic – the hilarious ‘How To Write An Alt-J Song’ video by US band Fleece. The video sees the duo – stoned to the bone and munching on rice cakes – lampooning the distinctive vocals of Alt-J frontman Joe Newman and stacking harmonies with a loop pedal, laughing away at their own ridiculously spacey efforts as they go. It’s all in good spirit, but the similarities are astounding,



Every Time Anthony Kiedis from RHCP says California 

If you ever spent your teenage years as a Chili Peppers fanatic – and let’s face it, most of us did – you’ll know that frontman Anthony Kiedis has a bit of a soft spot for the band’s home state of California. Kiedis, who actually hails from Michigan himself, has name-dropped ‘California’ at least 41 times throughout the band’s discography (that number, for clarity, does include the entirety of ‘Californication’), and some fans estimate that there’s dozens more references to Hollywood or Los Angeles throughout his work. 


To eternalise Kiedis’s love for the West Coast state, YouTuber michael2391 created a supercut of every time the charismatic frontman has uttered the word California that spirals into surreality. By the end of the video, the word California doesn’t even sound real, which is seriously spooky. 



How to Play A Groove in 13/8

Perhaps in protest to the astounding multi-meter grooves adopted by musicians like Snarky Puppy and Jacob Collier, Brian Christopher Mendes delightlfully ripped into the more wanky aspects of jazzcore music in his class video ‘How To Play A Groove In 13/8’. It’s a timeless reminder for all of us to never stray beyond 4/4 if we ever want a chance at securing a paid gig, and that simplicity is always best.


However, if you do want to see someone play in 13/8, we’d recommend watching Clarence Hill, aka John Swoletrane, tackling ‘Giant Steps’ on keys in the maddening time signature here. I’m taking a safe punt and saying that those guns are most defintiely responsible for this dude’s feel being as good as it is.



Every Mumford and Sons Song Basically

The title doesn’t mess about. Similar to the Alt-J parody listed above, this one’s a pretty on-the-nose piss take of how Marcus Mumford sings with his acclaimed UK folk-rock group. Dion Beary’s done a few of these videos, but none come close to encapsulating the essence of Mumford and Sons’ sound – classic. 



Kanye West as a Tame Impala Song

This channel is a gold mine for dank content. Nick Lutsko, who writes, produces and mixes all the tracks in his videos as well as handling all editing and production, lampoons popular music in the style of other artists with lyrics derived from other celebrity interviews. The best part about it all is that all the songs are actually really good – this is not the work of your average amatuer shit poster, but the art of a true genius.


There’s tonnes of great examples of Nick’s work out there – the ‘Eminem as a Talking Heads Song’ video is definitely up there with the best – but you really can’t beat his take on Tame Impala and Kanye West. The video pairs quotes from Kanye’s wild TV and radio rants from over the years with a very Currents inspired instrumental, with some psychedelic editing layered atop to make for a viral hit unlike any other. 



Harm’s Way Running Man

You’ve probably seen a few of these floating around your timeline recently, and for good reason – it’s just the meme that keeps giving. Harm’s Way are a straight edge hardcore group from Chicago, and they’re actually pretty good, but this meme is hilarious.


Taken from a pro-shot concert the band played last year, frontman James Pligge performs the Running Man dance during a particulary brutal section of the Harm’s Way track ‘Infestation’, with members of the crowd flailing along in the pit to create quite an absurd scene. A couple of clever meme lords took it upon themselves to superimpose unlikely tracks over the top of the footage, and well, the rest is history. We’ll leave you to look up the various examples in your own time, but you can watch the original video below – there’s a timestamp with a bunch of other memeable moments in the comments to check out as well. 



Tash Sultana’s Endless Reverb Chain

Okay, this one might be cheating a bit, given that is on Facebook. Nevertheless, it’s about as dank as it gets, as is most of the content posted by Chord Scale Theory Memes (special shout out to their free jazz Death Grips video). It’s particuarly pertinent to anyone who’s ever studied music at any Melbourne university, or even if you’ve ever attended a neo-soul gig anywhere in the Northern suburbs.


This choice cut, officially titled ‘Tash Sultana like a version but every time she clicks a guitar pedal it adds an extra channel of reverb to the endless barrage of fx on the existing mix’ offers a pretty tongue-in-cheek interpretation of how Tash Sultana commands their mammoth pedalboard while tapping into the joke about how much they love reverb. Enjoy. 



Tay Zonday’s ‘Chocolate Rain’

A certified gem of early YouTube and a banger even to this day, ‘Chocolate Rain’ was essentially a music meme before memes were even known as memes. The words ‘I move away from the mic to breathe in’ are permanently burnt into my brain from years and years of exposure to this video. Seminal stuff indeed – I wonder how Tay Zonday is getting on these days…



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