Most songwriters take their art very seriously. And then there's Parry Gripp, whose novelty and meme-themed songs have made him an Internet sensation.
With titles like "Spaghetti Cat (I Weep for You)" and "This Is the Best Burrito I've Ever Eaten," Gripp's videos have hundreds of thousands of views and have helped his YouTube channel reach more than 300,000 subscribers.
Gripp got his first taste of fame as the frontman of Nerf Herder, a band best known for the Buffy the Vampire Slayer theme song. The band is well-loved, but, in the eyes of its fans, never quite got the acclaim it deserved. (In fact, after an outpouring of support from their fans, Nerf Herder is currently recording a new album.)
But his talent for crafting meaningless music emerged during a dark time in his life, Gripp told the Ohio Edit. "I had given up on having a music career ... My dreams were crushed."
To keep himself occupied, Gripp started writing fake jingles. And then he wrote some more. And some more. Soon he had enough for a whole album.
For Those About to Shop ... We Salute You boasts an impressive 50 tracks with titles like “You’ve Got to Have Faith (In Your Antiperspirant)” and “You Ain’t Never Drank No Soda Like This One Here.”
"Nobody really encouraged me to write those songs," Gripp said. "In fact, people would always say things like, 'You should make a real album.'"
But he didn't. Instead, the musician developed a fascination with memes and their ability to quickly multiply. As a satire of meaningless viral videos, Gripp and animator friend Nathan Magur made a music video called "Do You Like Waffles?" The video went viral. "I became that thing I was making fun of," Gripp said.
It was time to embrace his gift. Gripp was impressed (and a little grossed out) by the success of Crazy Frog's "Axel F" remix, a track that somehow reached number one on the charts. "I knew I could come up with something that stupid and ridiculous. And that thing was 'Up Butt Coconut.'"
His lyrics are nonsensical and the videos are silly, but there are occasional poignant moments.
"Lazy Harp Seal Has No Job" tells the story of an embittered tourist in the Arctic who watches jealously as a fluffy seal pup gets all the ladies. "The Whole World's Laughing at Me" is a mournful tale of failure and shame set to video of sad-looking cats.
Gripp's novelty tunes have even found some commercial success. He's worked with National Geographic Kids, Wawa, and Disney, and made a guest appearance—as himself—on Phineas & Ferb.
Gripp's music is weird, and a lot of it may seem pointless, but it does make people laugh.
And then there's "Neon Pegasus," which may be the most inspirational silly song ever written. "No matter how insane or ridiculous they seem," Gripp yells, "you must follow. Your. Dreams."