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“We Are Young” is a 2011 song by the indie pop band Fun. Following its commercial success in 2012, the song and music video inspired the creation of many notable parodies and tributes on YouTube.
“We are Young” was released on September 20th, 2011 as the lead single for the band’s second studio album Some Nights. On December 27th, the official music video was uploaded to the FueledbyRamen YouTube channel (shown below), where it received over 166 million views and 182,000 comments over the span of two years.
On February 23rd, 2012, YouTuber tankiller662 uploaded a cover of “We Are Young,” using video footage shot around his neighborhood accompanied by several bizarre animations and effects (shown below, left). On March 25th, YouTuber Mikey Bolts uploaded a parody video with lyrics describing various teenage pranks titled “We are Dumb” (shown below, right). Within the next ten months, the video garnered more than 1.06 million views and 1,000 comments.
On April 16th, Yahoo released an original parody video titled “We’re Not Young,” which humorously laments the troubles and frustrations experienced by thirty-somethings, including finding meaningful work, obtaining health insurance and overcoming depression. Two days later, the video was re-uploaded to YouTube (shown below, left), where it received over 770,000 views and 550 comments in the next nine months. On May 1st, MTV published an interview with Fun, in which lead vocalist Nate Ruess was quoted saying he felt that most parodies of the song were “not funny.” On May 7th, the a capella group Pentatonix uploaded a cover of the song to their official YouTube channel (shown below, right), accumulating upwards of 7.07 million views and 14,800 comments within the next eight months.
On September 17th, students from a Kansas high school uploaded a parody video titled “We Are Hungry,” which protested lunch restrictions placed on high school menus. Within five months, the video garnered upwards of 1.1 million views and 3,400 comments.
On November 4th, Redditor SmokeManmuscle submitted the cover by YouTuber tankiller662 to the /r/cringe subreddit, where it received over 8,300 up votes and 770 comments within three months. The video saw a marked increase in traffic on YouTube, gaining several hundred thousand views in coming months.