Over the years, Toto’s Africa has become something of an internet sensation, the song people with too much time on their hands turn to in the hope of attracting attention.
There’s the video which features footage of an empty shopping centre, as Africa plays in the background. Nothing actually happens over the course of the clip, but it’s attracted close to a million views. There’s the heavy metal cover version with 16 million views. There’s a version by The Floppotron, in which 64 floppy disc drives, 8 hard drives and a 2 scanners are programmed to play the notes that make up the song, with it all sequenced to re-imagine Africa as as series of mechanical bleeps and screeches.
And now there’s a version designed to irritate the hell out of anyone who hears it. YouTube user Plufnub has isolated the vocals from Africa, tweaked them so they’re a single tone off-key and a single beat out of time, and reintroduced them to the song.
This might sound like a minor shift on paper, but in reality? Chaos. Misery. Pain. Fear. Hilarity. And it gets worse/more painful as it progresses. It’s the kind of thing you don’t want to hear twice, but will be keen to share with others.
The comments that follow run the full gamut of reactions, from “This is so stressful!” to “This is what anxiety sounds like” to “I want this played at my funeral.”
The most profound reaction comes from a user named Leviathan, who states, “To be fair you have to have a high IQ to understand the complexity in this video. The offbeat vocals mixed with the instruments are completely polyrhythmic. To the average listener, this would sound like a jumbled mess. The vocals also create a harmony which we as a primitive species cannot understand. I feel sorry for anyone who doesn’t understand, the sad beings they are.”
Frankly, we think he’s talking bollocks.