By Scottie Andrew | CNN
Eurodance maybe wasn’t due for a comeback for another few decades. But “Planet of the Bass,” a Eurodance parody track that’s become a TikTok hit and a legitimate banger in its own right, makes a compelling case for a return to a more innocent, synth-heavy time.
It’s an uplifting song about glad rhythms and all of the dream. About a world where bass reigns supreme and its people are clapping the hands. About the mysteries of life — “how does it mean?” — and how to survive when danger and dance rule all.
It’s nonsense. It’s comedy gold. And somehow, unironically, it’s become the song of the summer in a season devoid of the kinds of Top 40 hits that typically fill that slot. (Billie Eilish’s “Barbie” weepie “What Was I Made For,” anyone?) Oh, and “Planet of the Bass” hasn’t even been officially released on streaming services yet, but its mini music videos have been viewed millions of times across TikTok, X (formerly known as Twitter) and Instagram.
“Planet of the Bass” drops next week in full, and DJ Crazy Times and Ms. Biljana Electronica could earn their very first hit. Here’s how the joyously silly parody song has found a hungry audience — and could very well see that viral success translate to chart placement.
How ‘Planet of the Bass’ was born
Comedian Kyle Gordon knew that the people of Earth in 2023 needed some levity and silly delight to break up the summer doldrums. And so Gordon, as his alter ego DJ Crazy Times, cooked up a backing track straight out of 1997 along with “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” writer Brooks Allison and producer Jamie Siegel. Chrissi Poland provided the voice of Ms. Biljana Electronica, the Lene to Gordon’s René, to compare them to Aqua, Europop gods and the brains behind “Barbie Girl.”
A track so electric needed a music video (or three) to match. He cast Audrey Trullinger as the first Ms. Biljana Electronica and hit Lower Manhattan’s Oculus, a mall and train hub inexplicably designed to look like an alien spine — the ideal setting for an equally inexplicable song.
And so the two stomped around the Oculus on a Sunday afternoon (“probably the worst time we could’ve picked,” Trullinger told The Philadelphia Inquirer), lip syncing to a song while tourists gawked and police asked them to stop. (Gordon, as DJ Crazy Times, said he will no longer film there, though it’s “such a cool mall,” to instead make videos in the “former Yugoslavia,” from where DJ Crazy Times ostensibly hails.)
Then there were more videos — a second that Gordon/DJ Crazy Times claimed was filmed in Zagreb, Croatia, this time with a mysterious brunette woman singing Biljana’s part. And then he shared a third music video starring TikTok comedian Sabrina Brier as Ms. Electronica. Fans were displeased with Gordon for recasting Trullinger’s part, mostly due to her expressive delivery and lip syncing prowess, but Trullinger told the Inquirer she harbored no ill will. Gordon told The New York Times that Trullinger was simply out of town during other filmings, and fans speculated that it was another Eurodance homage to hire a rotating cast of women to lip sync the same part.
CNN reached out to Gordon for comment, but his song’s success has kept him busy — earlier this week, he performed as DJ Crazy Times and debuted the full song to a crowd that already knew half the words.
Why ‘Planet of the Bass’ works
“Planet of the Bass” understands what made songs like “Barbie Girl” and Eiffel 65’s “Blue (Da Ba Dee)” such enduring hits. Though the subjects of those songs are random (dolls as sexual stand-ins; aliens feeling sad), and their singers have a loose grip of the English language, the genre is all about freedom — to dance, to be silly, to shimmy your worries away on the dance floor. It sounds artificial, like its keyboardists are tinkering from behind a TV screen, but that’s the point — in the world Europop imagines, there is no war, just dance.
“Planet of the Bass” revels in the silliness of the genre, with soul-baring lyrics like “Life, it never die/Women are my favorite guy” and a plea to the world to “stop the war.” Gordon’s DJ Crazy Times is the perfect stand-in for the typical Eurodance male lead — the persona is a baritone with a firetruck-red pompadour who mostly sticks to spoken word solos and hype-man interjections. And the genius idea of repeatedly recasting Biljana — a point of contention among the song’s growing fanbase who preferred Trullinger’s performance as the songstress — refers to the frivolity and sincere insincerity for which Eurodance groups are known.
It helps, too, that the first taste of “Planet of the Bass” was released just a week after “Barbie,” the billion-dollar blockbuster whose soundtrack includes a track by Nicki Minaj and Ice Spice that samples Aqua’s “Barbie Girl.”
“I think maybe it’s just a nostalgia thing,” Gordon told GQ.
Its viral success could turn into streams
“Planet of the Bass’s” viral success recalls the first 10 years of TikTok’s unofficial grandfather — YouTube. After the platform debuted in 2005, comedic songs were among its most popular exports, from the intentionally hilarious “Shoes” and the “Bed Intruder” remix to the accidental hits “Chocolate Rain” or the “Numa Numa” video of a man lip syncing to the Europop track “Dragostea Din Tei.”
Those songs often saw their millions of views translate to thousands of downloads: “Bed Intruder” charted on the Billboard Hot 100 and was downloaded over 10,000 times on iTunes in its first two days.
Whether TikTok fame will have a similar result for “Planet of the Bass” when it’s released in full on music streaming services next week remains to be seen. Hits like Olivia Rodrigo’s “Drivers License” and Ice Spice’s “Princess Diana” became wildly popular on TikTok and wracked up streams and downloads simultaneously.
Gordon isn’t certain what will happen when his opus hits streaming services. But he does seem to support the idea that “Planet of the Bass” has legs beyond a few laughs.
“If it starts off as ironic but people genuinely love it — and let’s say it does chart — at a certain point the irony has to wear off,” he told the New York Times.
As bizarre as Eurodance is, and for how widely critics lambasted it during its peak as a trashy subgenre, it produced some of the most enduring earworms of their time, which still make regular appearances on playlists at weddings, bat mitzvahs and high school reunions. “Planet of the Bass” could fulfill a similar role, if only for the remainder of summer.
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