The Red Army Orchestra Internet Meme: Collection Of Parodies

Red Army Orchestra.

In the middle of June of this year, a video was uploaded to the Chinese internet in which the video from a Red Army Orchestra performance was synced to “Waving Flag”, the song by K’naan used by Coca Cola for promoting this year’s World Cup Championship. While this juxtaposition of old and new and East and West proved novel, it wasn’t until the beginning of July when this internet meme went internet-supernova when the same footage of the Red Army Orchestra was synced to Michael Jackson‘s “Beat It”.

While the syncing of “Waving Flag” was done well this “Beat It” version was far superior, showing an understanding of musical syncopation, call and response, instrument textures and layering, and even a smoking electric erhu solo by a Chinese Red Army version of Eddie Van Halen. Furthermore, while “Waving Flag” is a song about current events and world harmony, “Beat It” features the recently passed and thus universally acclaimed King of Pop at the zenith of his cool and idolatry; this would give this internet meme a dangerous, attractive quality for while comparing the Red Army to the World Cup and its themes of global harmony and friendly competition is mostly benign, comparing the Red Army to a black man, even the most famous, one-gloved black entertainer of all time could be attracting the attention of “harmonizing” censors.

However, despite the worry some netizens expressed, this internet meme took off. Besides enjoying great popularity like all internet memes, this one has attracted many knock-offs and other variations, from current Western Top 40 hits (“Hey Oh” and “Tik Tok”) to rather obscure versions (the 90′s “Who Let the Dogs Out?” and “The Diva Dance” from “The Fifth Element”) to current Chinese Top 40 hits (Jay Zhou). This list of “Red Army Orchestra” internet memes concludes with the most inspired and best versions of this internet meme, ranging from theme songs from cartoon shows that emphasize the ludicrous quality of this satire (“Ultraman” and “Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles”) to a rock anthem that perfectly encapsulates the epic nature of a nation-wide call to arms and unity to chilling effect (Queen’s “We Will Rock You”).

While it appears that the Chinese online community is ready to subvert and displace the political propaganda from a few generations ago, it also appears they are ready to seek out and find culture and significance in this same time period.  Also, it appears that they will have the chance to do that online–this time.

“Waving Flag” (Official Song 2010 FIFA World Cup Championship – K’naan)

Comments from Tudou:

追寻灵魂的人:

Really fucking joyful! This kind of idiotic art should definitely be made fun of.

_從來不說:

Your skill level is very high; laugh my ass off.

treewoods:

Ha ha ha!

“Beat It” – Michael Jackson

Comments from Mop:

蓝蓝的梅4:

NB!!!

地知道:

The lip syncing is good..

藏王子龙:

Cups.

午夜,微凉。:

Watching this makes me feel very joyful, for this is very valiant/incredible.

as88945:

[Just] here to observe.

一只萝莉控:

Godly syncing, the electric erhu at the end was the most niubi

小影枫:

NB lip-syncing!!!!

强力合金:

louzhu, hurry and delete this, otherwise you’re going to be harmonized.

鱼小胖o0:

After performing at the World Cup, these brothers [referring to the people shown in the video] also sang MJ’s song, such gods! This post must become popular, [I'm] waiting to see.

ァtuгκёy:

Be careful of being harmonized!

zhong109_405:

Appropriately awesome, those who haven’t seen it are missing out.

胯下卧白虎:

The People’s Liberation Army liberate Paris!

gaoshaowen2154396:

Garbage, [is this] respectful to our forebears?

sola恋空:

Awesome Chinese people.

暖暖唯一:

Looking for the original…not the “Beat It” version.

丫没穿裤子:

Let them go mine coal.

75386492:

After watching this, the pressure for me to express is great.

回家喂牛:

Ding, and I don’t need a reason.

噬爱之馨噬:

The editing is not bad, haha!!! . It’s just not very smooth, [but] this is already really awesome! You must’ve spent a lot of effort upon this! However, there is too much repeat footage, it gives me a headache!

淡石榴:

This type of mischief is not good! Don’t joke around with revolutionary themes! Too disrespectful!

姬小璐:

Marveling how NB the LZ is while laughing my ass off.

洛伦丹的夏天:

How old is this thing, and you’re not even embarrassed resurrecting it to intimidate people.

一切都是虚幻的:

I think I’ve seen this before a long time ago.

二阳指:

I laughed until my stomach hurt; I’m worried this will be harmonized.

”Hey Oh” – Pokerface

“Tik Tok” – Ke$ha

“The Diva Dance” – from “The Fifth Element” (1997)

“Who Let the Dogs Out?” – Baha Men

“以父之名” – 周杰伦Jay Zhou

A current Chinese hip hop pop song

“足球小子 (The Football Kid)” – theme song from a cartoon show

“Ultraman” – theme song from a cartoon show

“Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtle” – theme song from a cartoon show

“We Will Rock You” – Queen

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  • Lei Feng

    friggin fantastic…. I wave my flag!

  • That one guy

    First to make a comment saying they are first.

  • dustrabbit

    Yeah, the kids are niubi…..

  • wuwu

    very funny indeed

  • FYIADragoon

    I swear that every Chinese internet meme involving a nationalistic element of China, regardless of how the netizens believe they view it, is secretly done by the government’s internet squad. This is a highly effective method of getting nationalistic ideas, no matter how small, at least into the view of the people who watch these videos, regardless of whether or not they actually respect these ideas.

    Props to the CCP’s soft power.

    • joe

      HURP DURP COMMUNISTS ARE BRAINWASHING US OMFG!!!11oneone!1111

      I suppose you believe in chemtrails as well.

      • FYIADragoon

        I’m referring to the Chinese government towards its own citizens. The easiest way to spread propaganda is to do it a subtle manner. Spreading it through memes allows the Chinese netizens to view it harmlessly which allows for them to be exposed to a variety of it. I never at any time even implicated that this was directed towards any other countries.

        Try to use your brain next time, mkay? Oh nevermind, I’m talking with a /b/tard. 10/10.

        • joe

          >>Implying other countries don’t spread propaganda.

          How do you know your suspicions aren’t merely anti-Chinese propaganda cultivated by your western government?

          OH FUUU–

  • Money

    Brilliant!!! Laugh until nearly on the floor rolling.

    Haven’t seen something like it since http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HkbsUWiHwbA&feature=player_embedded#!

  • Chunghwa

    忍者 by Jay Chou is probably the best of the orchestra meme videos.

  • Alikese

    It’s truly sad that they are disrespecting the Communist propaganda songs that they’ve been passing down for 5000 years.

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  • joe

    anyone have a link to the original red army video?

  • asdaf

    haha these videos are hilarious, glad they’re mocking the red army

  • Jiang

    The old PLA singers are turning in their grave.
    What form of parody is this?
    Treasure not what they have contributed?

  • theo

    Just a small fyi, Wavin’ Flag was not the official FIFA WC 2010 song, that was ‘Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)’ by Shakira and Freshlyground. Wavin’ Flag was the promotional song for Coca-Cola during the World Cup. Though it’s both a better song and was heard more often during the cup.

    • http://candosino.wordpress.com terroir

      谢谢你的纠正,同志。Point taken and correction made. I watched the first couple of rounds and then got bored once everybody started getting cut. Also, those Chinese-made vuvuzelas were really annoying.

      Who won, anyways?

      • http://yahoo.com dielaughing

        Yeah, who did win? I was thinking about that last night…

  • Jake03

    offtopic question: Why isn’t there an stop button on these videos? Seems very strange to me.

  • joe

    What is the original video? I would like to know what they were originally singing!!!

  • redinou

    funny Hey oh its not pokerface lol but its “tragedie” a really stupid and bad french song ^^

    • http://candosino.wordpress.com terroir

      thanks for the correction, the video was titled as such as so I internet-naively just assumed it was true.

      The band’s name is “La Tragedie”? C’est dommage…

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  • http://www.urbancatch.com BrotherLonely

    I love red ants :p

  • ard

    heheheeee… zhe ge shi hen hao !!!

  • Superoo

    Hahahah… awesome!

    Thought it was pretty funny but quite repetative, then i got to the “teenage mutant ninja turtles” theme and almost pissed myself laughing. People that are offended by it, make me laugh even harder. Still laughing….

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  • b kresle

    Where did you get the original footage? Can you post it without re-editing so people can compare?

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  • Sunni

    Showed this to my dad.
    Had a pretty good laugh.

    Fucking brilliant.

  • Alikese

    I’m American and I look like Batman in the Dark Knight though parts of me look like the submarine from the Hunt for Red October.

  • joe

    I hope you’re not serious with that last part. It’s just a funny internet video created by a netizen, not some evil scheme to extend “soft power”.

  • http://www.chinageeks.org C. Custer

    The US is on the brink of racial and civil war? Huh. Someone should definitely tell the people in the US about that.

  • joe

    race war … that is just the tip of the iceberg … calls for independence

    You must be joking right? Please be joking.

  • http://candosino.wordpress.com terroir

    @Jones
    I want to play your video game, Call It Duty V: Race Wars Of the Segregated States of America. New classes: fife class and drum class! Form alliances a la Starcraft and then break them! Head shots are rewarded with a blood mist aerial spray in the colors of the state flag of your downed racial opponent! With its RPG leveling, if you put points in language you can understand the conversations of your opponents, and taunt them racially!

    I’m joking of course, but then I’d actually would play that game. Unless it was on Wii.

  • http://candosino.wordpress.com terroir

    Perhaps Alaska can be re-bought with a drum and fife rendition of the most racially-incendiary song ever, CCR’s “Sweet Home Alabama”, a song that has the arrogence to infer only the racial pure stock of Alabama has both “sweet” and “home” qualities, and thus negating all other homelands of the Segregrated States of America.

    As seen in the racially-incendiary “8 Mile”, in which a white man tries to come to grips with his white southern heritage by embracing the culture of black urban youths, only to join in the uprising at the movie’s end when the space ship lands.

  • Alikese

    I was joking, as Communism wasn’t around 500 years ago, let alone 5000.

  • jerry

    capitalism is not much better, it is designed to make you think you are in control at the end we’re still salves :D

  • http://candosino.wordpress.com terroir

    Even though I got bored of it, I think eleven guys ran around a field and won a game of the world’s most beloved sport in a tournament that promotes world peace and harmony. I don’t think gunships and smallpox were involved.

  • Peter

    Silly person! The sad thing is you are actually serious.

  • Justin

    CCR is Creedance Clearwater Revival, who were actually pretty progressive and from California. You’re thinking of Lynyrd Skynyrd who are reactionaries from Florida.

  • Just Jeff

    Lynrd Skynerd “reactionary”. Geeez, they were always center-right southern. Getting this back on track, the solo in “Beat It” killed me. Eddie Van Halen is probably trying to figure out how they mad an Er-Hu sound like a Frankenstrat through a browned out Marshall.

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