Trending This Week: Existential Animals, Heady Kids, and Melting Icebergs

August 01, 2014

Sometimes we come in on Mondays, fire up our Viral Video Machine,™ and think: will the week yield any fresh memes? But an hour will go by and ... boom, a trailer breaks. A music vid pops. And then, there it is: something we never saw coming, yet suddenly can’t imagine life without. A LOL is born.

This week on the Spotlight channel, we spotlighted Unlocking the Truth, a Brooklyn-based metal band who just signed a major record deal (and yeah, they’re 12). We also rounded up the Best Interviews Ever and got into the song of the summer game with these cheeky “Problem” covers.

And here’s what else we spotted trawling the streets of Meme City USA:

Rebecca Ehalt - Dog passes out from overwhelming joy

If you read the title, you’ve got the gist. But that didn’t stop the cellphone-shot clip from getting a whopping 30 million hits this week. That vaults the excitable schnauzer into the top 20 most-viewed videos of the year to date (and if you took out the music videos, it’d be straight up the most-viewed video of the year--we’ll give you a second to ponder the enormity of that). Look, it’s not a Caravaggio, but there is something about the universal delight in watching a cute animal do a cute thing that is, in its own way, a work of art.

Maddie & Tae - Girl in a Country Song

“Well shakin’ my moneymaker ain’t never made me a diiiime …” The twangy breakout hit from a brand-new country duo was our not-so-guilty pleasure of the week. Maddie Marlow and Tae Dye took the “bro country” script, flipped it, and reversed it, with a witty video that makes a point about sexism in country music (watch your back, Blake Shelton). M & T, consider yourselves cordially invited to our next tailgate/backyard BBQ/dueling fiddles competition.

Wanda Stead - Iceberg collapse

Shiver me literal timbers. For Wanda Stead and her husband, a casual boat ride through the Bay of Exploits in Newfoundland, Canada, turned calamitous when they witnessed--and captured--a massive collapse of an arch-shaped iceberg. The short clip packs a wallop about what’s happening on the planet: warmer winters in Antarctica mean ice sheets are colliding with the ocean floor more often, and bringing big ramifications for the entire ecosystem. Yeah, Wanda, we’d scream too.

Alex Miller - Sadie doesn’t want her brother to grow up

Another UGC miracle this week shows a 5-year-old having a heady meltdown over the meaning of life, death, and time--you know, kid stuff! The little brother gives a brilliant performance: his perfectly timed smile makes for a stunning dénouement. Such a wise little buddha! In the words of commenter Michael Warbux: “You know the best part about this video? EVERYTHING!” Couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

-- Claire Stapleton
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