I happened to come across the Harlem Shake on YouTube just before it exploded into the public eye. I have to admit that at first I didn’t understand what it was all about but after two hours of viewing I noticed a theme and realised that I had stumbled upon the first video meme and musical craze of 2013.
Set to a 30 second snippet from the track ‘Harlem Shake’ by New York producer ‘Baauer’, the video works like this. Picture a scene. It can be set in an office, a bedroom, inside a car, an Olympic swimming pool, anywhere. There are people simply getting on with their everyday jobs except for this one dude who starts air-humping or attempting what is now known as the ‘Harlem Shake’. He continues his humping for a few seconds until the track ‘drops’. Suddenly the video flickers and every single character or person in that previous scene is now deep into what can only be considered a sort of dance move. The crazy thing is that almost everyone seems to be dancing to a very different beat, except for the slightly less creative participants whose generic dance move involves humping any tangible object in sight, including laptops, a wall and a huge inflatable horse.
Whether this will kick clubbers into gear as Gangnam Style did remains to be seen but with over 12,000 remakes and 50 million views on YouTube. Harlem Shake is going to be with us for a while.
Just one problem. According to the Harlem residents “that’s not the Harlem Shake”.