My best friend in New York City owns a vintage acoustic guitar shop in the East Village, and plays slide guitar in a really good folk band. A couple months ago, I met the band for some beers after a rehearsal. We were at a dive in Prospect Heights and ‘Uptown Funk’ came on the speakers.
They all lambasted it, to the point that had you told me Uptown Funk was not a song, but an actual serial killer who had targeted the mothers and fathers of each individual band member, I would have believed you.
The hate for it was that great.
Meanwhile, Rick Astley has his own damn plaque in the Hall of Profoundly Obnoxious Memes. It’s not such that the idea of sending ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ to unsuspecting people was bad, just that, in practice, it was so terribly beaten to death that a veteran coroner of 20-plus years — who has seen some physically revolting shit in her time — actually vomited when she came upon the corpse of Rickrolling.
So, if you put the two together, are they the worst thing to happen in the world?
Well, in April of 1994, in the already tense, fraught situation that was a cease fire during the Rwandan Civil War, between the predominantly Hutu government and the Tutsi-led Rwandan Patriotic Front, a plane carrying the leader of the Hutu government, Juvénal Habyarimana, crashed, killing him.
Immediately, in retaliation, the Hutus led a swift, fast, brutal and horrific campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Tutsis and the RBF. It’s estimated that within the first six weeks of the campaign, 800,000 Tutsis were killed, a rate of slaughter that was five times greater than anything the Nazis committed during the Holocaust.
So no. A Rick Astley cover of ‘Uptown Funk’ is not the worst thing in the world.
But it ain’t great.
Here it is