Internet memes have become increasingly popular ever since message boards and chat rooms came about. Memes are used as a way of communicating particular feelings or opinions on a topic through the form of an image, song, or video. This is usually, but not always, done in an amusing and sometimes derogatory manner. Since social media blew up with the advent of Facebook, memes have become a ubiquitous form of communication online.
Trolling memes gained popularity when used with the Rick Astley song ‘Never Gonna Give You Up.’ However, one of the most curious memes in recent years is known as the ‘Eduard Khil Meme’ or the ‘Trololo Meme.’ This meme is often used as a form of trolling, where people would post a hyperlink disguised as something relevant, but would actually be a link to something else, in this case Russian singer Khil’s strange 1970s song ‘I Am Glad I’m Finally Going Home.’
The meme has been refereed to as Trololo, this is a combination of the concept of trolling (internet slang for provoking readers or disrupting conversations) and the weird way Khil vocalizes in the song. The Trololo meme became popular around 2009-10 and started to appear in chat rooms. It also received considerable awareness when a website was launched in its honor, and the song was parodied by actor Christoph Waltz, and TV series Family Guy.
The song itself gained further attention due to the strange and curious nature of the fact that it has no lyrics. In fact, the video simply features Khil “singing” well, basically nothing. In fact, it’s much more like yodelling, with the odd “la la la, lay, lay, lay” thrown in for good measure! Basically, without beating around the bush, the song makes no sense! However, there is backstory and context to the song, and, by extension, the meme itself.
It seems that originally when Khil first wrote the song, it did actually contain lyrics. He claimed that he, and the others who worked on the song, had originally written lyrics about a cowboy named Joe, who was riding back to his love Mary. But, apparently, back in the days of the Soviet Union, this was considered to be anti-communist (go figure), therefore they were forced to abandon these lyrics.
Khil went on to explain that once the song had no lyrics, he had to come up with something, and so the weird wailing/yodelling came about. It seems crazy to think that, after all of this, some 23 years later the song would achieve a greater level of fame than it had ever done in the past.
Eduard Khil, unfortunately, passed away in June 2012 following complications from a stroke. The 77-year-old was a big loss to the world of Russian music and popular culture. Less known in other countries, it’s nice that Eduard achieved levels of recognition in his 70’s through the Trololo meme, which he discovered when his grandson came home humming the song.