Sonseed: Accidental Irony and the Internet Meme

I’ve lived through a couple of online waves of this video — in fact, I was an early spreader of the craziness.

And despite repeated viewings, I still believe that this song — this video — is truly a thing of comic beauty.

At first glance, I thought “this has to be a fake…  Incredibly hilarious, but fake.”

I mean, it was too delicious — too rich in what could easily be conceived as satire.

“This,” I thought, “has to be an impeccably created meme, produced by some kind of ironic genius.”

But no.

It has been thoroughly researched.

Far from being a fake, it is a rare example of absolutely brilliant accidental comedy.

But what makes it so?  And where do you begin when deconstructing this video?  What are the reasons for it’s almost universal humour?  How did it go viral?  What made it so meme-tastic?

Is it the sock-feet, Costello-stanced, divinely ska’d guitar player?

The “what the hell am I doing here?” look on the faces of two of the background singers? Or the unabashed enthusiasm of the two in the middle?

Is it the delightfully gentle churchlady keyboard finger strikes (that produce such a surprisingly full synth/ska sound)?

It could be the accidentally sexually suggestive nature of this couplet:

“Once I tried to run, I tried to run and hide.
But Jesus came and found me and He touched me down inside.”

I mean, how can you not think of church sex scandals when you hear that?

Heck, it could just as easily be the following couplet:

“He is like mountie, He always gets His man, and He’ll zap you any way he can.


Or is it all of the above?

Usually, I would say no.  Combined, there is more than enough irony to push this video completely over the top.  If this were manufactured, the disparate elements would be too much.  It would sink under the weight of its comic pretensions.

What saves it though — what pulls it all together — is the earnestness of the entire production.  The fact that everyone involved is taking the song seriously is what makes it pure comic gold — something that cracks a smile on the face of almost anyone who comes across it.

It is honest and it is rich with feeling.  It is something truly special.

So, congrats, Sonseed, on your over 6 million hits.  Congratulations on being internet superstars.

You’ve brought smiles to so, so many people.  Sure, it may not have been in the way that you intended, but…  well…  it is all about spreading the joy, isn’t it?


And rock on.