No. 35: Hampton The Hamster, “The Hampsterdance Song”

Nov 2nd, 2009 // 13 Comments

The Internet giveth, and it taketh away (your sanity).

When it first came online, the Hampster Dance was an innocent little animated-GIF project by a Canadian Web nerd that used a sped-up snippet from “Whistle Stop,” the opening music from Disney’s Robin Hood, to soundtrack a bunch of little hamsters dancing around. Memes took a bit longer to gestate back in the days before Twitter and Tumblr, but as the giddy-sounding nine-second sample infected workplaces around the world, people realized that money could be made off simply annoying the crap out of people. There were T-shirts. There were licensing agreements. And there was, finally, the music—most notably/annoyingly “The Hampsterdance Song,” which takes those nine high-pitched seconds and stretches them into a threadbare, madness-inducing dance tune, with a protracted novelty-tune “thump” driving the whole thing along.

Hampton’s song was a hit among the types of people who liked to annoy the shit out of their cubiclemates by keeping the speakers on their computers just loud enough. But it’s not just the crazymaking nature of hearing that loop over and over and over and over again that helped make this song so, so terrible; we should also remember that Hampton’s little bit of Disney-appropriation set something of a curious Internet-and-music precedent. After all, one could argue that both the dance remix of the Web site’s signature song and the six albums of Hampton the Hampster “songs” that followed (including the all-important Christmas record!) pretty much set the table for the current era, where 6,000 “blog ready” remixes of a song ping around the Internet by self-promoting GarageBand hounds before the original version’s download total can break the four-figure mark. I guess we should all just be happy that “I Kiss You” didn’t have as catchy of a hook?

Hampton The Hamster – The Hampsterdance Song [Dailymotion] [Official site]
F2K: Idolator Counts Down The 50 Worst Songs Of The ’00s, One By Ear-Splitting One

  1. This has been around since the ’90s, really shouldn’t be on the list.

  2. @Al Shipley: The dance remix version has a 2000 release date. It was well-timed to the beginning of the dot-com collapse actually.

  3. The Hampsterdance Song < My Humps

  4. Shipley is right, there was an earlier dance remix of that sample released in 1999 by the Cuban Boys. It was called “Cognoscenti vs. Intelligentsia”, and I think it even made it into the Top of the Pops in the UK:

  5. Hm, I was pretty sure that one version of the Hamsterdance song was on the Radio Disney charts as early as the late 90′s, but I might be mistaken. Still, Maura’s right that it feels more early 00′s than late 90′s (Did that Dynamite Hack song might technically exist before 2000?)

  6. Also, I believe I have TWO Hampton the Hamster albums that I’ve never listened to.

  7. I’m just sad that there was never an “Ate My Balls” homepage theme song.

  8. @Al Shipley: “Question for Ms. Bellamy. In episode 2F09, when Itchy plays Scratchy’s skeleton like a xylophone, he strikes the same rib twice in succession, yet he produces two clearly different tones. I mean, what are we to believe, that this is some sort of a… magic xylophone or something? Boy, I really hope somebody got fired for that blunder.”

  9. @Tuomas: That song was released in 1999, this one was released in 2000. Where’s the disconnect?

  10. There’s no disconnect, I just thought your article maybe should’ve mentioned “Cognoscenti vs. Intelligentsia”, since “The Hamster Dance” is essentially an rewrite/imitation of it. There’s not much difference between the two.

  11. @k-rex: I just want you to know that the first thing I did when I saw this was complain to Maura, not about the song, but about how the cartoon stylistically apes Hamtaro. Ham-ha.

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