The internet is truly a treasure trove of the weird and wonderful. Consider, for instance, the latest music trend taking over the world wide web: Bardcore. Put otherwise, modern classics transposed into medieval-style ballads, complete with lutes, flutes, harps, and fiddles, as well as olde worlde lyrics (aye, thou hast never known aught like this before).
Medieval covers of chart-topping hits might not sound like a formula for success, but Bardcore has blown up in a major way over the past few months, with videos racking up millions of likes and views on YouTube, plus a dedicated sub-reddit with almost a thousand members.
One of the most popular Bardcore accounts on YouTube, humorously dubbed Hildegard von Blingin’ in reference to a 12th-century saint, boasts some 530k subscribers and more than 4.4m views on a variation of Lady Gaga’s ‘Bad Romance’ (bard romance?). Reimagined with haunting vocals, wooden recorders, and a Celtic harp, the song warbles along to modified lyrics like, “I want thy love and all thy lover’s revenge / thee and me could write a bad romance”.
Cornelius Link, another favoured source of medieval ditties, counts over 3.9m views on a ye olde rendition of ‘Pumped Up Kicks’ by Foster the People. The 27-year-old German web developer is thought to have kickstarted the Bardcore movement when he posted the tavern version of a Tony Igy song back in April (although genre-flipping modern to medieval has long lurked in the depths of the internet), reportedly inspired by the “coffin dance” meme. He’s only uploaded four videos so far, but it’s safe to say that handful has packed a punch.
But why is everyone suddenly partying like it’s 1199? Perhaps because we could all do with an additional dose of escapism, or an extra three minutes of laughter and enjoyment. Perhaps it’s the nostalgia talking, a yearning for a simpler and slower way of life. Perhaps it’s the strange comfort in listening to a song set centuries ago and remembering that humanity has survived severe catastrophes before, and emerged somehow stronger. Or perhaps we just really, really like the sound of lutes and harps. Whatever the reason may be, we’re certainly the better for it.
Check out a few more of our favourite throwback tunes below.
Somebody That I Used To Know
All Of Me
Baby One More Time
Sweet Dreams Are Made Of This