'Despacito' played on two calculators actually sounds as good as the real thing
The song Despacito by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee last month became the most viewed YouTube video of all time, surpassing 3 billion views. The well known remix featuring Justin Bieber also helped the song gain popularity by including some English translation to the Spanish language song. But Bieber's input is a very toned down version of the rather saucy Spanish lyrics. The song has been widely listened to and widely discussed, and no matter how controversial it happens to be, it keeps popping up.
One of the more curious places Despacito has been referenced is in a 2-minute-and-9-second-long rendition of the song played on two calculators.
The video's unambiguous title 'Despacito but played on two calculators' shows that this person is not faffing about. A Japanese YouTuber going by the name of 'It's a small world' uploaded the video of fingers tickling the calculator keys in a continuous shot that reveals no editing tricks.
The calculator on the left is played by the left hand to provide the musical background to the song, while the right side covers the vocals. The result is a remarkably catchy and bright version of a very familiar tune.
A number of amusing remixes of Despacito already exist. But this one certainly gets the listener thinking and asking a few very important questions. If those aren't symptoms of a musical masterpiece, then I don't know what is.
Since when are there musical calculators? I don't remember in my years at school using calculators (the pre-scientific kind) that ever made a sound. Why do they exist? Wouldn't they irritate every person in your vicinity? It's a small world has revealed that the calculators are a Chinese-made AR7778 model of the 'Musical Instrument Calculator' category.
Is this kid a musical genius? Reading sheet music is impressive enough. I imagine the musician would have also spent some time trying all the buttons on the calculator to learn and memorise which notes correspond to the 1, +, or M- keys. To me, learning a pop song with as many layers as Despacito and then trying to figure out how to make a similar sounding song on musical calculators seems a very fiddly and complex task. But what do I know.
Why are people getting so emotional about it? The fact that everyone is talking about this video is enough to show that this cover song is getting people talking. The comments on the video are just golden too.
The song is divisive, the cover is novel, and together a new arena for conversation and confrontation is born.
If you check out the rest of the channel, you'll find a bunch of other clips worth your time. Since Despacito, Shape Of You by Ed Sheeran (played on two calculators) has been released, which has as much potential as the Despacito cover.
Dig a little deeper and you'll find a bunch of other great stuff played on a toy piano. There are covers of Demi Lovato, Selena Gomez and even Harry Potter's Hedwig theme. There's also an eerie kind of lullaby version of the Game of Thrones theme.
It looks like all songs by 'It's a small world' have been uploaded in the past month or so. While the Despacito video might just be riding on the viral coattails of the song, there's no denying it's caught people's attention. The YouTuber appears to be uploading daily now, following the new-found attention. It doesn't look like Bieber's advice is being taken:
"Baby, take it slow so we can last long..."
In other music news, have you noticed a change in your behaviour since you started streaming music? I thought so...