Sea shanties are your soundtrack of 2021. Seriously.

Or a minimum of, that’s the most convenient thing to inform yourself when “The Wellerman,” a 19th Century whaling tune, has actually been knocking around in your head for a week directly.
The jaunty tune about sugar and tea and rum is the center of a really cool, well-executed pattern on TikTok begun by Scottish artist Nathan Evans. His variation of the tune, which was formerly brought into modern-day appeal by the group The Longest Johns, has actually amassed practically 5 million views on the video-sharing app TikTok.

“I think it’s because everyone is feeling alone and stuck at home during this pandemic and it gives everyone a sense of unity and friendship,” Evans, the 26-year-old vocalist from Airdrie, Scotland, informed CNN.

“And shanties are great because they bring loads of people together and anyone can join in. You don’t even need to be able to sing to join in on a sea shanty!”

Given that Evans published his tune on TikTok in late December, other artists have actually utilized the app’s duet function to include their own voices and instruments to the mix, leading to a harmonic kaleidoscope of performances that have actually gotten their own appeal. Other sea shanties took off as well (there is some distinction in the meaning of these maritime tunes, however we’ll simply stay with shanties in the meantime). Everybody was enjoying.
Then, things got odd. TikTok users began developing dubstep shanties. Smash Mouth’s 1999 “All Star,” currently a god-tier meme in its own right, got the shanty treatment. Awareness of this brand-new nautical pattern moved to Twitter and other social networks platforms. “The Wellerman” rose the Spotify charts.
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For whatever factor, sea shanties struck a nerve. And yes, you might chalk it up as another web curiosity. However certainly, there must be something more here, right? Why else would individuals state things like “2021 is the year of the sea shanty,” or publish memes about how “The Wellerman” has entered into the soundtrack of our existing state of intense international and political crisis?
“I can’t tell if the whole sea shanty thing is the perfect wholesome distraction from the horror of life in 2021, or the final nail in coffin of my psyche,” Blink-182 frontman Mark Hoppus stated on Twitter.

It holds true the tunes are quite appealing, which’s by style. Shanties are a kind of work tune, circulated by workers, typically underpaid and overworked, to minimize the uniformity of their labor.

Uniformity and financial unpredictability? In our 2021? Possibly it’s not a lot of a stretch after all.

This shanty moment is also another example of TikTok’s cultural range. The video-sharing app regularly catapults meme music into chart-topping bangers and transforms already-big hits like Cardi B’s “WAP” into major cultural moments. (And yes, there are now sea shanty versions of “WAP,” too.) This is where a fun joke about a “Ratatouille” musical, of all things, can become a real event, and where tunes from the past, whether it be Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” or a 19th century nautical ditty, can be remixed and reborn in an instant.
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And all of this happens because one person sees what another has done, and decides to join in. In fact, Evans says that’s been his favorite part of watching the trend grow.

“So many people have joined in, and also the happiness and joy it has brung so many other people, it is absolutely incredible,” he says.

This type of exchange is literally the basis of folk traditions, and one of the reasons sea shanties and the music of everyday people is kept alive through history and across cultures.

Was this just the right moment in time, when, isolated and restless, craving release from political upheaval and existential worry, people chose to reach across oceans and engage in a little sea shanty obsession?

Possibly. Or maybe it shouldn’t make sense, and we should simply roll with it.

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.