5 Obscure Music-Related Memes Explained

5 Internet memes that continue to shape our collective memory

Internet memes rule everything around us. They are viral nuggets that, with the help of our shares and likes, colour and warp the online landscape and the broader ontology we live in. But the best memes have their roots in the smallest beginnings, demonstrating a tested endurance rather than an instant populist appeal. Here’s our meme dump of some choice niche memes, music-related in some way.

Fall Out Boy Fan Protecting Ferguson Police

After peaceful protests marking the one-year anniversary of the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, an image of Lexi Kozhevsky, a white, 19-year-old woman wearing a Fall Out Boy t-shirt in front of a line of police officers went viral. Originally tweeted by St. Louis Dispatch Director of Photography Lynden Steele, the image circulated with a quote from Kozhevsky. “Lexi, 19, stands to protect cops,” Steele’s post read. “‘I would rather get hit by something than let it hit them.’” The Internet responded by criticizing Kozhevsky’s views on Ferguson policing, and soon after began superimposing Kozhevsky in front of other images, parodying her decision to defend already overcompensated figures.


Hitler Reacts to the 2015 Polaris Music Prize Shortlist

Downfall, also known as “Hitler Reacts To” is a series of videos that sees users laying parodic subtitles over a climactic scene from the 2004 German WWII epic Der Untergang, a dramatic retelling of Adolf Hitler’s final 10 days. The scene depicts Hitler’s breakdown reaction to news of Germany’s impending defeat, witnessed by four high-rank generals, while edits use it as a vessel for passionate responses to topical events, often parodying the subject as much as the source material. Despite many takedowns, this meme’s remained in heavy rotation since the earliest known upload in 2006. When Polaris longlist nominee B.A. Johnston and his album Shit Sucks failed to make the shortlist cut, Halifax band Windom Earle created a hilarious edit wherein superfan Hitler bemoans the state of Canadian music and music criticism.



Based on a paparazzi photograph of Maureen Hindley and her husband David Smith driving to a 1966 trial addressing the Moors murders, the Raymond Pettibon-illustrated album artwork to Sonic Youth’s Goo has been subjected to countless mashups, many of which have been documented on the tumblr blog GooMashups. Recently, Ryan Adams incorporated the meme into his campaign towards covering Taylor Swifts 1989 album in its entirety, including an illustration of Swift alongside a Pettibon’s words.


Nihilist Arby’s

Peering into the void and calling out the perverted cousin of deli’s most depraved creations by tacking undecorated, non-sequitur advertising commands onto bleak observations about the meaninglessness of existence, Nihilist Arby’s launched on Jan. 14, 2015 as a novelty Twitter account. On Aug. 13, it was revealed as the brainchild of Lawrence Arms bassist/frontman Brendan Kelly.


Neil Young Yells at Cloud

In recent years Neil Young has made headlines for his views on music streaming and audiophile rants about as often as he has for voicing his enviro-political concerns, literally yelling at the cloud and delighting Simpsons fans the world over. Young’s meme-ification is so complete, in fact, that no one’s even bothered to edit the classic Simpsons meme to update it with the musician’s likeness; many writers and editors are now content to simply make passing references to the meme and link to it in their articles, sparing the explication.

(Main photo by goomashups.tumblr.com)