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?