Astronaut In The Ocean song artwork from Masked Wolf.

Astronaut in the Ocean

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About

"Astronaut in the Ocean" is a 2019 song by rapper Masked Wolf. The song went viral on TikTok and was re-released in January 2021 after Masked Wolf was signed, climbing the Billboard Hot 100 charts and reaching over 100 million plays on Spotify by February. Despite its success, the song became the subject of criticism by many online in mid-2021 due to its arguably bad lyrics, generic sound and general oversaturation at the time.

Origin

On June 6th, 2019, Australian rap artist Masked Wolf released his single "Astronaut In The Ocean,"[1] gaining some success in Australia but failing to become popular worldwide (shown below). In an interview with Tone Deaf[2] Masked Wolf talks about how the song deals with feelings of depression and anxiety, illustrated in the song by Masked Wolf rapping that he feels like an "astronaut in the ocean." The video has since gained over 59 million views on YouTube.



What you know about rollin' down in the deep?
When your brain goes numb, you can call that mental freeze
When these people talk too much, put that shit in slow motion, yeah
I feel like an astronaut in the ocean, ayy

One of the earliest successful videos to use the song was a Fortnite montage uploaded to YouTube on September 30th, 2020, garnering over 200,000 views in eight months (shown below). The song appeared in a number of additional Fortnite montages in the following months, many gaining thousands of views while helping to spread the song.



On October 27th, Masked Wolf released the official music video for the song on YouTube, garnering over 109 million views seven months (shown below).



Spread

In late 2020, TikTokers[3][4] began using "Astronaut In The Ocean" over videos, the intro of the song acting as a build-up, and the beat drop used to transition into an action sequence (examples from October and November 2020 shown below, left and right). It's unknown who first used the song, but the original sound has been used in over 6.7 million videos in seven months.


https://www.tiktok.com/embed/v2/6888878871475768582
https://www.tiktok.com/embed/v2/6894806734196509958

In early 2021 Masked Wolf was signed by Elektra Records,[5] who re-released his song across streaming services on January 6th of that year.

People also use the song in various compilations and gaming clips on other social media sites. For example, on January 8th, 2021, Instagram[8] page @cod_next posted a Call of Duty: Warzone clip using the sound, garnering over 32,000 plays and 6,100 likes in four months (shown below).



On January 13th, YouTuber Leva_Net International posted an original music video for the song set to Cars 3 footage, garnering over 600,000 views four months (shown below).



A second original sound for the song uploaded to TikTok as early as February 2021 has been used in over 419,000 videos in three months, often used in the same way or as a general soundtrack to videos (popular examples shown below, left and right).


https://www.tiktok.com/embed/v2/6936976965832412422
https://www.tiktok.com/embed/v2/6942970224828288262

The song continued to spread across other social media sites via compilations, many uploaded to Twitter[9] (example shown below). In April, Masked Wolf performed the song on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.



Around May, the song began to receive some criticism online, particularly on Twitter. For example, on May 1st, Twitter[10] user @kaialijr posted, "Astronaut in the Ocean is prolly the worst song I’ve ever heard." On May 3rd, Billboard announced on their Instagram[7] page that "Astronaut In The Ocean" reached number eight on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 (shown below).


billboard HOT 100 SONG ARTIST 1 Save Your Tears The Weeknd & Ariana Grande Silk Sonic (Bruno Mars & Anderson .Paak) Justin Bieber ft. Daniel Caesar & 2 Leave The Door Open 3 Peaches Giveon 4 Rapstar Polo G 5 Levitating Dua Lipa ft. DaBaby 6 Kiss Me More Doja Cat ft. SZA Montero (Call Me By 7 Lil Nas X Your Name) Astronaut In The 8 Осean Masked Wolf 9 up Cardi B 10 Drivers License Olivia Rodrigo chart dated May 8, 2021

On May 4th, Twitter[11] user Danny Gonzalez posted, "astronaut in the ocean was written and performed by a youth pastor i’m sure of it," garnering over 15,000 likes and 300 retweets in three days (shown below). On the same day, music critic and YouTuber Anthony Fantano tweeted,[12] "How does an astronaut in the ocean feel?" garnering over 3,000 likes in the same span of time.



On May 6th, Anthony Fantano posted a video to YouTube[6] titled, "I feel like an astronaut in the ocean" in which he offers his opinions of the song, particularly critiquing the lyrics and general idea of feeling like an astronaut in an ocean as funny (shown below).



Various Examples



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