In two months, two different types of viral trends started sweeping the Internet: the Harlem Shake and Goat Remixes. These trends seem similar at first, but that are actually quite different when examined closely.
In August 2012, “Harlem Shake” was released by Baauer. On Jan. 30, 2013, a video called “DO THE HARLEM SHAKE (ORIGINAL)” was uploaded on YouTube. This video was a 30 second clip of four men in suits dancing until the lyrics, “Do the Harlem Shake,” at which time they changed their dancing style.
Four days later, another video was uploaded entitled “Harlem Shake v2,” featuring the same music as the first clip. It has several men relaxing in a room and one guy dancing out of place, wearing a motorcycle helmet. The line, “Do the Harlem Shake,” was played, and video cuts to all the men dancing. When the song played the lyric, “Con los terroristas,” the video goes into slow motion and ends.
On Feb. 6, another four days after the second video was uploaded, another version went viral, called “Harlem Shake v3,” was uploaded. This version featured famous people on YouTube, which also went viral.
The amazing aspect about the Harlem Shake is the fact that the trend went popular so quickly. By the end of March, the original and “v3” version gained over 30 million views, and the “v2” version gained over half of that. Since the second version came out, other Harlem Shake videos were uploaded, including a version underwater, several military versions, a firefighter edition and a parody featuring Freddie Wong, a YouTube celebrity, telling the public to stop doing the Harlem Shake.
The virality of the Harlem Shake is because of the simplicity of the videos. Although the first video started the trend, the second became the one all others are based upon, with the title, jump, atmosphere and slow motion ending. The third video became an understood contest to see who could perform the most original Harlem Shake video, based on the second video’s version. Even Maryville College currently has three different Harlem Shake videos online. Because the videos are simple and easy to imitate, the Harlem Shake is popular today.
About three months after “Harlem Shake” was released, Taylor Swift released a popular single called “I Knew You Were Trouble.” On Feb. 6, a video entitled, “Goats Yelling Like Humans – Super Cut Compilation” was uploaded, featuring goats and sheep making noises that sounded like humans screaming.
Three days later, a video appeared that combined the chorus of Taylor Swift’s song with one of the goats from the compilation. A screaming goat was cut into the song, replacing Swift’s screams. The version and copies of it were popular, Swift herself tweeting the video on Feb. 26.
Since “I Knew You Were A Goat When You Walked In,” other songs got remixed with a screaming from the original goat compilation, including Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep,” Justin Beiber’s “Baby” and Skrillex’s “First of the Year.” These videos, known as “Goat Editions” or “Goat Remixes,” usually contain the clip of the song. Eventually, the goat became replaced by other short clips of screams, such as a clip of Nicolas Cage from “The Wicker Man,” screaming. Even though many other Goat Remixes and other such remixes exist, the Taylor Swift version is known as the original and most popular.
Although these Goat Remixes seem similar, they are viral for different reasons. While the Harlem Shake can easily be duplicated and have unique takes on the original, a Goat Remix requires more skill to pull off. Where the Harlem Shake is more about performing the Harlem Shake, a Goat Remix is better suited for viewing than performing. Goat Remixes also focus on the humor, while the Harlem Shake focuses more on awe.
It seems the beginning of 2013 has already stood out in Internet history with these two trends. As 2013 progresses, other Internet trends are certain to appear. However, the Harlem Shake and Goat Remixes will not disappear from YouTube or from the minds of those who enjoy them.