Why WATCH ME by Silento is simple and viral

Now, music majors and people with taste around the world will sniff that this song is far too simple and boring. Give us something complex and interesting, a song that’s less repetitive and more complex.

I agree with that criticism. It’s a very simple song and not really meant to crank up on your stereo as you’re driving around.

As a dance song, though, it’s beautifully done.

Here’s why:

1) Songs you can dance to vs. DANCE songs

We’re not talking about “music you play at nightclubs,” because just about any fast song–from punk to pop, hair metal to hip hop, is danceable.

This is the more rare category: songs about a dance, one that you’re supposed to do. An entirely different animal.


2) The song has to be easy and social

Think about the Electric Slide, YMCA and all the other dance songs.

Everybody with a pulse can master making a Y, then an M, C and A–though this is much harder in a club after all kinds of tequila.

The Electric Slide is more complicated, except the music video shows you how, repeatedly, and it’s a line dance where you can watch the person to your right, left and in front of you.

So these dance songs are a social event, which makes them far more durable and viral than you’re average song with a danceable beat.

Slow songs are another story entirely. Anybody with a pulse can hold your partner and move in a slow circle. That’s neither complicated nor social.

A true dance song means “more than two people snuggling up while Bad English croons When I See You Smile.”


3) The dance moves are broken up into easy, happy pieces

YMCA really only has that bit where you make letters and screw up on the switch between C and A.

The Electric Slide is all one big dance, and if you’re in a nightclub or a wedding, and therefore drunk, you’re going to screw it up.

WATCH ME gives you tiny nuggets of danceable goodness.

Watch me whip. Watch me nae-nae. Break your legs. Bop, bop, bop. Do the stanky leg. Watch me duff. Watch me Superman.

And in the video, you see not only Silento and great dancers do their version of those moves, you see little kids and regular people, both in the video and on a zillion fan-made YouTube vids.

Because it’s crazy easy. They give you the names of each move, every time, and they aren’t hard to memorize.

If you’re a great dancer, it’s not hard to do more advanced versions.

That’s the true genius of it, a series of simple dance moves versus one long, unbroken dance. Because if you’ve got a room full of people at an event, half the people are going to screw up in the middle of any complicated dance and either give up and walk off or stand there, confused and feeling like an idiot.

As a man who stinks at the whole dancing thing, I appreciate how well they set this up. It’s a big, social dance song for everybody from four-year-olds to grandmothers, no big deal, and they make it almost impossible to blow the dance.

Verdict: Well done, Silento–now show us something different for an encore.

4 thoughts on “Why WATCH ME by Silento is simple and viral

  1. Ha! I’m no dancer either. Me, I prefer Mozart, Bach, Chopin, and pretty much any classical music; there’s enough going on to keep me interested for a long time, it’s seldom harsh sounding, which I don’t like, and no auto-tune! (I’m a snob about that.) But I also love Joplin and any Celtic music that isn’t rock-oriented. Guess I’m a little behind the times when it comes to music! 🙂


  2. I’m a good dancer. Truly. It’s one of the few things I do well. Of course I took ballet and tap for years. My husband is a kung fu dancer. Dance anywhere near him and he’ll accidentally kill you.


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