Tay Zonday’s Top Ten Moments VOLUME 1 (C.A.T.T.L.E.)
It’s time for our first ever cliffhanger post here at Popular Opinions. Instead of giving you a straight forward top ten list in this installment of Chaz’s Arbitrary Top Ten List Extravaganza, we’re dividing this into two separate entries and there’s a lot to say and we need some room to breathe. In observation of the upcoming holiday, we’re devoting this week to Tay Zonday. Yes, your forecast calls for “Chocolate Rain!”
Every medium of popular media has their sacred day celebrating a landmark work that became the new standard for all that followed. Just as literary enthusiasts honor June 14th as ‘Bloomsday’ in observation of James Joyce’s masterpiece Ulysseus, the YouTube generation marks July 26th on our calendar as ZonDay. Yes, it is the feast day of the internet’s patron saint Tay Zonday where the information superhighway is covered in chocolate rain. Three years after YouTube itself inaugurated the holiday by showcasing the man’s finest work on their homepage, let’s take a look back on the web’s Tay-stiest Moments.
For those who were outside the country for the summer of 2007, allow me to reintroduce Tay Zonday, the ultimate purpose that the internet was meant to serve. Back in April of that year, he was mild-mannered University of Minnesota PhD student Adam Bahner. Frustrated with his American Studies program, he took to the internet with a performance of his original composition “Chocolate Rain.” Within three months, the video went viral and was soon being covered by everyone from Green Day’s Tre Cool to “David Duke dick” dispatcher John Mayer. At that time, Tay became the closest thing the internet had to a crossover-star as his web presence
But why, you ask, out of the dozens of videos that get uploaded did this one become the talk of the internet? The answer, quite frankly, is because Tay gave us so much to talk about. From the lighting who color can only be described as “Oriental Snuff Film #11,” to the iMovie infotainment inscriptions, the visual aesthetics command the viewer’s attention like a dorm room front-desk drunk. Then, from the body of Isaac comes the voice of God. With the appearance of an anorexic androgynous adolescent, no-one could have anticipated Tay’s actual voice to be deeper than Atlantis. Soon after he beings, we’re alerted his quick headturns are so he can “move away from the mic to breathe.” Not since Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree has one character of popular media provided so much.
So today as the Tay Stars (the actual nom de nerd for Zonday’s Juggalos) band together with their brethren in boisterous ballyhoo of their baritone baron, I’d advise you to test yourself for Tay Fever by seeing how you react to the enter-Tay-ment I’ve Tay-lored based on actual Tay-stimonials. Let’s Tay-ke a look!
5 ) Chocolate Rain (8-Bit Remix)
We’re starting first with a fan creation that defines the mysterious mythological aspects of Tay’s breakout that instantly relegated him to legendary status. While the summer of 2007 had us all stranded in a sea of RickRolls, the University of Minnesota PhD student parted the ocean like the Moses of Memes and then split the internet’s collective atom, moving away from the mic to blow your mind.
4 ) Cherry Chocolate Rain
Say what you will about the internet memes that existed B.T. (Before Tay) but remember that any debate ends when you consider how many of them had Dr. Pepper flavors created in their honor. In November 2007, the only soda pop legally allowed to practice medicine gave Zonday a budget and his very own Tay-based baptismal fluid, making the best argument yet for there being a future in using the internet to advertise goods and services.
3 ) Chocolate Rain (Kimmel Performance)
There are few spectacles as awkward as when the internet and the real world collide. As Jimmy Kimmel’s pick for song of the summer, he extended an invitation for Tay to bless the terrestrial airwaves as part of his Internet Talent Showcase. On August 7th, 2007, Tay performed half of “Chocolate Rain” to arguably the most confused crowd in late night history. The diverse grimacing reaction shots and futile attempt to clap along truly captured the puzzling party that was the summer of Tay in one glorious clip.
2 ) Internet Dream
First appearing on the inaugural ZonDay, “Internet Dream” displays the man’s ‘Tay-chnique’ fully coming into its own. With his militant marching performance turning the song into something of an anthem, Tay explores his own internet addiction and parallels it with his Mother’s struggles with technology and the private shame of social media. Truly, “this internet is something else.”
1 ) Chocolate Rain (original)
The one that started it all. Not unlike Dolly Parton’s “Jolene,” it’s a vulnerable ballsy first single that defines high-risk high-reward. An infectiously memorable five minute indictment of institutionalized racism complete with an innovative breathing technique and a promotion of Creative Commons licensing, “Chocolate Rain” remains the ultimate realization of everything the internet can and should be.
TO BE CONTINUED…with some of Tay’s lesser known gems.
Until then…let’s agree to agree!