Feist’s 1 2 3 4 has been stuck in the Internet’s head for over a year now, but it wasn’t until just recently that it stood a chance of becoming the next big mash-up meme. How? It’s all because of Sesame Street, and a cover version sung by Amanda Palmer, lead singer of the Dresden Dolls:
The original lyrics for 1 2 3 4‘s chorus (“Oh, you’re changing your heart/Oh, you know who you are”) are a perfect part of a deceptively bouncy song about lost love — but don’t make it very open to reinterpreting (with the exception of this MadTV parody). When rewritten for a preschool audience, however, as “Oh, we’re counting to four/Oh, let’s count some more,” the song becomes a basic template for…well, pretty much anything you want to sing about.
Provided, of course, it comes in quantities of four and rhymes with “door,” which isn’t exactly easy. Palmer’s version includes “MacBooks lying on the floor” and “Milkshakes from the store next door” (I won’t ruin the best of her rewrites); meanwhile, I struggled to come up with anything that worked with the rhythm of the song (eventually choking out the pretty weak “1 2 3 4 Star Trek episodes with Lore” — which is why I’m not a professional singer/songwriter, for the record).
1 2 3 4 is undoubtedly overplayed at this point, but the fact is that over a year after the first iPod commercial, the Sesame Street appearance was able to give the song new life. So the question is this: Will cleverer minds than mine latch onto the catchy tune’s new potential for being rewritten — or is Feist soooo 4th-gen iPod?