The Popstream: The Rickroll Must Die


Maybe getting duped into watching the video for "Never Gonna Give You Up" was a special kind of mortifying for you back in 2007. Maybe you shared knowing chuckles with your friends when you went from roll-ee to roller, secure in the knowledge that your attempts to trick someone into thinking they were about to hear a leak of a new song from Chinese Democracy or view the first teaser trailer for The Dark Knight were successful and infuriating. But times have changed, and I've got to say that for something as obsessed with fleeting, ADD-accelerated ephemera as internet dork culture, this fixation with Rick Astley-related hijinx -- extending, as it has, to the Macy's Thanksgoddamnedgiving Parade -- has gone on for far too long. Since freezing yourself cryogenically until the whole thing passes over is apparently not a proactive enough option, I humbly suggest discontinuing the Rickroll entirely and substituting something just as ridiculous, even more '80s, and about fifty times as questionable.
Billy Squier's "Rock Me Tonite": It's not as insidiously catchy as the Stock-Aitken-Waterman juggernaut of Astley's #1 hit, but that is the only thing working against its potential institution as an internet fuck-with-you device. What it does have going for it is the most baffling and embarrassing one-man choreography ever seen in a music video. You might start watching this, noting Billy's writhing, aerobics-gear-clad form and the presence of lots of soft Vaseline-lens lighting and satiny sheets, and wonder what the hell is going on. I have three theories:

1) the video's director, one "Kenny Ortega", was not actually the director and choreographer who would later go on to helm the successful High School Musical franchise. This Kenny Ortega was, in fact, a twelve year-old boy who just learned what homosexuality is and thought it was the funniest thing in the world

2) this video concept was originally intended for Sheena Easton, but she turned it down, so it was re-shot verbatim with a replacement singer due to the budget for the set, wardrobe and special effects already having been allocated

3) Billy accidentally backed his car into the Maserati belonging to the head of Capitol Records, had no auto insurance, and could not provide monetary compensation

C'mon, people. Let's make Billyrolling the wave of the future. And then promptly cut it the hell out after six months.