Remember when the Internet was an amazing new thing that was about to change all of our lives for the better?
Pomplamoose, charmingly, still feels that way. The YouTube-friendly duo, best known for viral pop covers and mash-ups like the Pharrell/Daft Punk collision “Happy Get Lucky,” has a new music video that’s drenched in ’90s-style enthusiasm for the boundless possibilities of the World Wide Web.
It’s called “The Internet Is Awesome,” and it’s a goofily sincere love letter to the medium that has brought Pomplamoose a modicum of fame, if not exactly a fortune. Group member Jack Conte says he was inspired to start his own crowdfunding platform for artists after calculating the paltry ad revenue that Pomplamoose stood to receive from one of its YouTube hits: $18 for 250,000 views. Artists are now using the platform, called Patreon, to raise upwards of $1 million a month from their fans. (That’s $1 million combined, not $1 million per artist. Still, it’s better than $18.)
It’s almost like the Internet is doing for Pomplamoose what everyone hoped it might do for creative people, back before it turned out that most of the money was actually going to a few corporate goliaths like Google and Amazon.
The group says the video for “The Internet Is Awesome” was recorded live, in a single take, using “a Launchpad, Impulse midi controller, and Ableton Live.” For such a makeshift production, it sounds pretty great.
The lyrics aren’t explicitly nostalgic, but their wide-eyed optimism recalls a simpler time before the Internet became associated as much with misogyny, inequality, and privacy violations as it is with democracy, hope, and creativity. “Before the Internet,” Nataly Dawn intones, “ordinary people could only publish their ideas and creations if they went through a gatekeeper.” (At 28, she may be a few years too young to remember zines. Still, her point is well-taken.) The spoken-word delivery also brings to mind such ’90s MTV fodder as Baz Luhrmann’s “Everybody’s Free (to Wear Sunscreen). “
The truth is, for all its problems, the Internet really is awesome, in the original sense of the term. It’s easy to forget just how miraculous it is that you can ping a server in New Zealand from your house in Switzerland and get a response in 285 milliseconds. As one reverent Redditor recently pointed out, that means the information traveled around the world at more than half the speed of light.
Referring to wireless Internet, among other technological achievements, Louis C.K. once remarked that “everything’s amazing and nobody’s happy.” Good for Pomplamoose for proving him wrong.
Previously in Slate: