A Mystery on the ‘Planet of the Bass’

Get ready for blast off: We’re going to the Planet of the Bass.

This week, social media users were bumping “Planet of the Bass,” a parody of a ’90s Eurodance song with clubby synths and grammatically confounding lyrics. Its female vocalist delivers lines like “All of the dream/How does it mean” while its goggle-wearing hypeman — nicknamed “DJ Crazy Times” — shouts out ad libs like “Everybody movement!”

The song was written by Kyle Gordon, a comedian who lives in Brooklyn (and moonlights as, yes, DJ Crazy Times). Since he shared a 50-second clip on TikTok last week, some fans have been declaring “Planet of the Bass” their song of the summer.

The song has already ignited a minor controversy around the identity of its elusive vocalist, credited onscreen as “Ms. Biljana Electronica.” We got to the bottom of things in an interview with Gordon on Thursday.

In the initial video, filmed inside the World Trade Center’s Oculus, the chorus of the song is lip-synced onscreen by an actress and content creator named Audrey Trullinger. But then, a plot twist: On Thursday, Gordon posted a second video in which Trullinger was replaced with Mara Olney, another content creator.

Fans freaked out.

“THE PEOPLE WANT MS. BILJANA,” one commenter wrote on TikTok. Some begged him to delete the second video, or threatened to riot if he did not bring back Trullinger.

Gordon told us the true Ms. Biljana Electronica is actually Chrissi Poland, a singer who recorded the vocals for the song but does not appear in either video. Trullinger has not been kidnapped somewhere in cyberspace, he added: She’s just in Montauk for the week.

Gordon said he wrote the song both to poke fun at and pay tribute to artists including Real McCoy, Culture Beat and Aqua. He enlisted Brooks Allison, a writer for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, and Jamie Siegel, a producer, to help him polish the track. They put him in touch with Poland, who recorded its intentionally clunky hook: “When the rhythm is glad, there is nothing to be sad.”

Gordon said he thought it would be funny to tease the song with multiple videos, each featuring a different woman portraying Ms. Electronica. Some fans believe that randomly changing out lip-syncing vocalists is part of the Eurodance homage. Gordon also told us there was a third clip with another actress on its way.

If Gordon posted the video hoping for a little excitement, he wound up with a sensation. The clip has already picked up more than 80 million views on whatever Twitter is called now.

Perhaps that’s because “Planet of the Bass” has managed to land as both a party bop and an inside joke. Fans are turning its lyrics into memes (“Women are my favorite guy” is a favorite) and constructing a complex lore around Ms. Electronica’s mysterious disappearance. They’re also begging Gordon to release the full track so they can dance to more than 50 seconds of it.

Does that make “Planet of the Bass” an ironic hit — or just a hit?

Gordon thinks the line between the two might be disintegrating. He will test his theory when he releases the full song on August 15, to stratospheric expectations. “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 said.

Internet Candy

Here’s what else is happening online this week.

Striking actors are turning to Cameo to make money. 2020, is that you?

Why did the cop in Boston go down that slide so fast? (HuffPo)

A TikTok account remixes classic pop songs with A.I.-generated cartoon voices.

Dating apps are out. Date-me docs are in.

An interview with the subway’s most, uh, interesting dresser. (The Cut)

A deep dive into the fans who believe Britney Spears was never freed from her conservatorship. (Vox/New York Magazine)

Superconductor of the summer?

Physics and social media collided this week over a substance called LK-99, which is being hyped as a holy grail of physics.

As our colleague Kenneth Chang reports, a team of South Korean scientists posted two reports that described their technique for making LK-99, which they claim is a superconductor: a long-sought material that can carry electricity at room temperatures with zero resistance.

If true — a big if — enthusiasts say that could lead to new technologies to solve climate change and make levitating trains commonplace.

The claim “has totally lit a particular corner of the Internet on fire,” my colleague Kevin Roose said on the Hard Fork podcast. People are livestreaming their attempts to recreate LK-99 on Twitch, and making their own samples in their kitchens.

“Basically, this has become like a folk science project,” Roose said. “A moment where the kind of buttoned-up world of like white lab coat material science sort of merges with the weird fandom of the Internet.”

Callie Holtermann joined The Times in 2020. More about Callie Holtermann

Madison Malone Kircher is a reporter for The Times. She writes about the internet for the Styles desk. More about Madison Malone Kircher

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