Many are comparing the YouTube "Harlem Shake" craze to PSY's "Gangnam Style," but the relative ease at which people can do a 30-second video and upload it to YouTube has more shades of the "S*** [People] Say" phenomenon that took place after "S*** Girls Say" came out. "Harlem Shake" has two main ingredients for viral success: funny and surprising. Although, already, Freddie Wong has done a video under the NODE banner taking this trend to task, which we'll show you down below. YouTube Trends has a graph and a playlist detailing the new craze.
Harlem Shake: A Born YouTube Viral Sensation
It all started with this, from the channel "TSCS (TheSunnyCoastSkate)"
What is the dance and what is the music? Well, the Harlem Shake is a dance created in 1981, but it's not the same dance that's done in the videos:
An electronic musician, Baauer, is responsible for the music, simply titled "Harlem Shake." So, Filthy Frank's video started a phenomenon on February 2. And we already have countless imitators, spoofs, versions, etc. that have sprung up and we're only on February 13th as I write this. YouTube Trends has a nifty playlist here. Here's a couple of highlights:
This one has over 5 million views:
The gang at SourceFed did one:
Here's "hiimrawn" at Something Different doing one at Maker Studios, which is currently the top-viewed version:
All of these have that same quality: one guy is dancing (usually with a helmet on), there are only a couple of other people in the room pretending not to take notice, and then when the song is ready to get crazy, we see a surprise jump cut where everybody is dancing, people's shirts are off, more people than before are in the frame, etc. I challenge you to watch the playlist on YouTube Trends without laughing once.
But apparently, Freddie Wong isn't laughing, at least not anymore:
Of course, this has no chance of stopping the Harlem Shake. From YouTube Trends:
That's right…that's over 4,000 of these videos being uploaded per day, and over 12,000 total, for 44 million views. And we're likely to see some very different takes of this in the coming days and weeks, much how there were so many different perspectives of "S*** People Say."