In Hear This, A.V. Club writers sing the praises of songs they know well—some inspired by a weekly theme and some not, but always songs worth hearing. This week, we asked, “What’s your favorite song that originated on the Internet?”
I have never knowingly consumed an entire Justin Bieber song, but according to my iTunes playcount, I have listened to “Justin Bieber Slowed Down 800%” close to 20 times—a number that, given its 35-minute running time, works out to some 700 minutes I’ve spent immersed in Bieber’s music. Of course, you’d be hard-pressed to find much of Bieber at all in this track created by producer Nick Pittsinger, who ran the pop star’s “U Smile” through the processing software PaulStretch to create an ambient epic as hypnotically immersive as the original is breezily inane. Instead, you might spot hints of Sigur Rós, Brian Eno, Dead Can Dance, or Eluvium surfacing in this slowly cresting haze—an ethereal, symphonic sound so well honed that many people were certain the whole thing was a hoax when it was released, convinced it was a sham ripped off from an actual ambient artist. It’s not. It’s real and it’s spectacular, an experimental goof that creates accidental beauty—and isn’t that what the Internet is all about?