Tag Archives: parody

Modern One-Hit Wonders (and their Parodies) – Throwback Thursday

It worked at the time, but I don’t know if this one has aged quite as well – but the question now stands, what are some newer songs that have good parodies? 


I’ve been covering bands for the last few weeks. Kind of like in a concert, when the band gets going, and plays a bunch of songs in a row without stopping. But it’s time to slow back down a bit, get back into a groove of talking about music, as well as bands.

This week, I wanted to talk about one-hit wonders. Usually, figuring out what songs are one-hit wonders requires a good deal of time to pass, so that you can look back and say that, “yep, none of their other songs ever made it big.” However, I think that makes it fun to speculate about which recent songs will end up as one-hit wonders, as the artists fade into the night.

I think that today’s day-and-age has an interesting twist to the one-hit wonder as well: YouTube and the Internet. Now, the songs are potentially big not only just as a song, but as a music video people can watch, share, and interact with. It’s the fact of interaction that I think can point the way to the one-hit wonders: songs where there’s a ton of parodies and other interaction leading to the popularity (or notoriety!) and life of the one song, but not to the artist’s career overall.

I think that in the past, Weird Al Yankovic almost single-handedly had this same effect with some songs – and may still today, with his new album. Time will tell! But let’s look at a few songs that I think are going to go down in history as one-hit wonders, and some of the parodies that lead me to think that way!

Call Me Maybe

Remember this song? Annoyingly catchy and all over the place, and I remember being surprised that it wasn’t an artist I had really heard of before – it seemed like a Katy Perry song or something like that. However, part of why this song was big was because there were so many parodies of it. I tried to avoid this one as best I could, so I don’t have a parody that stood out in my mind or that I remember. Instead, here’s a link to a basic search for parodies of this song:

The top five parodies that came up have roughly 272.5 million views between them. That’s a lot of views. And there are a bunch more parodies! Oh, and the original song has 577.5 million views. Just looking at Carly Rae Jepsen’s VEVO, I see a few other songs with a decent number of views… but nothing to touch this one song. Will history remember her as a one hit wonder? My sources say maybe.

Somebody That I Used to Know

Here’s another song that blew up, was hugely popular, and had a video which people loved to parody: “Somebody that I used to know” by Gotye. This one has 533.7 million views just for this one version.

And it’s a really artistically interesting video, and it’s a vocal duo which is always popular and different, and it’s just this interesting and unique sound… songs that meet those sorts of qualifications often don’t live up to expectations with the rest of an artist’s work. It seems to be the same with Gotye.

There’s one parody of this song I definitely remember, which was really well done both for content, topic, and for copying the art style of the original video. This one is great, if you’re any kind of Star Wars fan!

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Verdict: The Orville

I will admit the first episode of The Orville did not reel me in to the show. It was not bad, but it was not good either. There were definitely a few points that made me chuckle, but overall it felt like the blasé day-to-day life that we know now set in the future.

Now maybe I had my expectations high as a fan of Star Trek and Galaxy Quest, but this is definitely something a little bit different. The problem is that I am not sure that it is as good as either of those, which is almost what you have to be at this point. You can be different, but space exploration has been done by a couple of shows and you have to somehow bring something new to the table. I am still not sure that The Orville has completely given me that, but the third episode has shown me that it has more to offer than originally thought. Now the first episode is alright, the second episode a little painful in my opinion, and then the third episode you have an episode that kept me engaged and interested the entire time. At this point the general verdict is we are going to keep watching, but it is on thin ice. (Potential spoilers for the first three episodes of The Orville.)

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Star Trek’s Back… And so is Parody

So this happened.

That all looks really good right up until you think about it being on CBS All Access. CBS has been notorious for not playing well with others online, so outside of CBS All Access, I doubt it will be accessible anywhere in America. If I recall, it’ll be available streaming in other countries.

What this means? Well, for one thing, they’d better be ready for all the news reports about how it’s a heavily torrented TV show. And what it means for us is that we’ll probably just be waiting until it’s available to buy as a season after the fact… sadness!

Still, it looks great. It reminded me a bit of Mass Effect Andromeda, which more than anything means they’re both really current effects and visuals in similar sorts of space exploration stories. They both look gorgeous.

But then, there’s another show coming that had a trailer drop.

Sneaking this show out as competition for Star Trek: Discovery like this, and on a normal network like Fox, should be interesting. They’re both around 13 episodes (sounds like Discovery got bumped up to 15).

Star Trek parody can be great, though – Galaxy Quest proved that. With The Orville be anywhere near as good as Galaxy Quest? That remains to be seen. But we may give this one a watch and see!

Now that Rogue One is out… Rogue One parodies are out!

Oh man, some of these are a little too true… I guffawed at the end, especially. Great Force Awakens clip…

And of course there was the How It Should Have Ended, which as usual found many of the plot points where the movie could have just ended right there. What up, noobs?

We haven’t gotten our hands on the movie yet, but we’re excited to watch it a second time. This is one that in years past I probably would have seen more than once in theaters. It was good, and the parodies aren’t detracting from that for me. But they are making me question a bit… is it quite as good as I remember? Maybe I should go back and listen to our podcast on it to jog my memory!

Redshirts by John Scalzi – Book Review

I recently finished reading Redshirts, by John Scalzi. It’s actually the first Scalzi I’ve read, but I kept hearing how good he is. As a Star Trek fan, the premise of Redshirts just seemed too good to pass up, so it seemed like the perfect place to start.

Redshirts is the story of those nameless crew members on a spaceship who, on away missions down to planets or space stations, die. It’s a parody of this phenomenon that happened a lot in Star Trek – especially the original series. It’s also a much larger meta tale, but I can get into that more below…

The long and short of it is, I’m glad I read this! Is it the best parody of Star Trek ever? No, Galaxy Quest still takes that cake. Is its commentary on lazy storytelling biting and awesome? Yes, yes it is. Hidden in this story about the hapless, no-name characters doomed to die to add a bit of drama to a scene is a commentary on how relying heavily on this trope is not good storytelling, is not fair to your characters or your audience. You should have to earn character deaths, make those characters real and meaningful. Because in real life, that’s what people are.

The book closes beautifully with, as the cover says, three codas. After arguing that in storytelling you should have to earn your emotional payoffs, and that your characters should be more than bit players, he goes back and gives us a perspective from three characters, telling us what happened to them because of the plot. This is Scalzi, after telling us about earning an emotional payoff, showing us how it’s done. These, in many ways, take this story from a fun comedy parody with a bit of a message into a deep, impactful story that’s worth far more to the reader.

So that’s my spoiler-free review and thoughts on the book. As a writer, or reader, or TV viewer, or TV criticizer, or a Star Trek fan… I would say for sure read this book. And if you somehow read the novel and skipped the codas, my goodness, go back and read the codas. Go now, I’ll wait. Oh, and if you’re curious still or want to move on to some spoilers… let’s do that below!

redshirts-cover

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