Australian rock band The Drones have become an international sensation after their song I See Seaweed has gone viral on the internet. In one of the biggest surprises since the success of PSY’s Gangnam Style, the title track of The Drones’ latest studio album has been watched so many times on YouTube that the view counter has clocked back to zero.
The rise in popularity of the eight-and-a-half minute epic began when I See Seaweed was performed on American Idol by judge Keith Urban last month. Within 24 hours, the song was in the Top 10 of the American iTunes download chart and had been re-interpreted countless times on the internet by bedroom singers worldwide. Soon afterwards, a series of parody versions – most notably a drugged-out I See See Weed by born-again Rastafarian rapper Snoop Lion – ensured that The Drones were this year’s Gotye. Inevitably, the Drones Facebook memes followed.
To the horror of street press rock critics everywhere, The Drones are now an FM radio staple throughout Australia. Their album of the same name, I See Seaweed, has become the biggest selling album since Adele’s 21.
The Drones’ lead singer Gareth Liddiard is baffled by his band’s sudden stardom. “I honestly didn’t expect a dirge about death and sea levels to be so popular. When we first got asked to sing a version for Sesame Street, I thought it was a joke.”
But the Sesame Street invitation – just like The Drones’ performance with seaweed-waving muppets – was deadly serious. The Drones will return to Australia later this year for a 15-date national tour. They are scheduled to perform their song Shark Fin Blues at the official launch of the Labor Party’s federal election campaign in August.