Getting Rickrolled By Barry Manilow
As hip and happenin' a guy as I am, I have to admit that I don't get into a lot of "internet memes". It's not that I don't get it, but given the speed with which the net churns out these micro fads turn it's hard to keep up. I'm also not a big fan of random non-sequitur humor (though I loved "All Your Base Are Belong To Us" as much as anybody). To put it plainly and simply, a lot of this quasi-humor just isn't very funny.
I've chuckled at Rickrolling, especially at its worldwide acceptance. For those who haven't been been caught in this prank phenomenon, here's what happens: someone links you to a video telling you that it's a new movie trailer or something else they want to share. You click on the link and it turns out to be the music video for Rick Astley's 1987 pop hit "Never Gonna Give You Up". Har.
If we can get beyond Astley's Howdy Doody boyish good looks, and the voice/body type mismatch (like Tay Zonday - another recent goofy net fad - zing!), there's nothing particularly wrong or embarrasing with the original 80's video. It's like any other throwaway pop song, but this Rickrolling thing has banged the funny bone of the internet resulting in millions upon millions of new viewers for this 20 year old video.
So what I'm guessing happened is that someone Rickrolled international mellow man Barry Manilow. Instead of smirking at taking the video bait like the rest of us, he included his own version of the song on his new "Greatest Songs of the 80's" compilation (note how much the camera moves mimic the original cheapie music video). It's a pretty good strategy. The other songs on Manilow's CD are unremarkable 80's ballads as you'd expect, but this uptempo number is what will get him untold free press attention as long as this Rickrolling thing continues.
Heck, even Astley participated in a live Rickrolling himself a few days ago at this year's Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. During one group's performance of the theme song from The Courtship of Eddie's Father, Astley himself burst onto their float interrupting with his "Never Gonna Give You Up". It's so recursive & self-referential that it may make your head cave in.