Taher Shah's Eye to Eye is going viral, but it's not clear how irony-based his fame is.
Anthropologists have known for a while that some cultural phenomena are universal: dancing, music, storytelling and music videos that go viral due to their unintentional comedy. The reigning queen of popular for all the wrong reasons is Rebecca Black, whose groundbreaking “Friday,” wondered “which seat should I take?” and advised us that “tomorrow is Saturday and Sunday comes afterwards.” Black, however, has a challenger from the Middle East. His name is Taher Shah, and his song is “Eye to Eye.”
What Rebecca Black had in sheer vapidity, Shah has in slow dance moves and awkwardly timed smiles. He also gets his money’s worth with the adjectives he applies to eyes. We’ve got sensual, sensational, colorful, fabulous, exciting, glorious, spectrum, sparkling, dreaming fairies, stylish excellent human, spectacular, precious. Hey, I would be honored if someone described my eyes as “stylish excellent human eyes.”
Rebecca Black had a perfect mix of plainly silly, but also poppy enough that you can get through the song. Taher Shah is slower and dreamier, which will make it harder for him to go Friday viral, but he has the advantage of having actual fans. Some people want to hear eye to eye, giving Shah a hybrid ironic-unironic fanbase. I predict he will only go semi-viral, because the hilarity really comes out when you watch him dance, whereas Rebecca Black’s hilarity was audio and visual.