Randy Rainbow Layered Parodies - Trax on the Trail (2023)

August 17, 2020

In September 2019, I stood in a fan line in front of the Merriam Theater in Philadelphia. The attraction, however, was neither the latest teen heartthrob nor a jazz star.randy arcoiris, the YouTube sensation whose contemporary parodies of concert tunes and pop songs, the lyrics of which are rewritten into comic commentaries on current politics, regularly rack up millions of views.

The audience was diverse: while most were white and middle-aged, there were mothers and daughters, young and old, mixed gender identities, and people of color. They were all united in their Rainbow fandom. His joy, clearly cathartic, was contagious. They encouraged Rainbow through their greatest hits, from "monitor" (doprimer debate Clinton-Trump) by "Cheeto Christ, stupid zar", A startJesus Christ Superstar(encouraged by Trump, who calls himself the"King of Israel" and "The Chosen One").The audience even sang along, surprising given that the often parodied songs on the show tend to appeal to an older demographic.

In fact, Rainbow's performance was a true throwback to American politics of the past three years. The songs revived my memories of many events since Trump first appeared on the political horizon like it was yesterday, forming a time capsule that captured my contemporary feelings and provided a timeline of how the political environment got to where we were. The performance got me thinking: Aside from a shared dislike of Donald Trump, what is it that audiences find so universally appealing about Rainbow's songs? How do you get laughs while raising awareness about political issues?

  • Randy Rainbow Layered Parodies - Trax on the Trail (1)
  • Randy Rainbow Layered Parodies - Trax on the Trail (2)
  • Randy Rainbow Layered Parodies - Trax on the Trail (3)

This essay looks at the layers of parody and irony that Rainbow extracts. He often plants his music with a quote or action from Trump or another politician, which he reworks to make it sound ridiculous. This quote is embedded in a song, a concert song or a pop song whose lyrics he rewrote. She often chooses songs with a similar theme to the quote, based on the mood and drawing deeper conclusions. First, I'll discuss some elements of musical parody represented in Rainbow's songs. I will further illustrate these points with a discussion of "very stable genius' (2018, to the tune of 'I am the true model of a modern major general." Forpenance pirates,W. S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan, 1879). This is followed by a lengthy discussion of "A tablespoon of Clorox' (2020, to the tune of 'a spoonful of sugar" ForMary Poppins,Richard y Robert Sherman, 1964).

aspects of song parodies

Rainbow's technique of grafting new lyrics onto pre-existing music is a common approach in political songwriting, from the republican and royalist pamphlets of 17th-century England to the anti-Trump resistance events of the past decade. Since the author only needs to change the lyrics, this method allows him to compose new songs in a timely manner. A political song based on a pre-existing template can also increase your chances of attracting an audience familiar with that song.

Rainbow's songs are recognizable as parodies because it retains not only the melodies but also the word sounds of the originals. In his first viral hit"monitor' hired Trumpsnonexistent wordduring the first presidential debate with Hillary Clinton to the music "Super ca li fragile ist tic ex pi a li do cious".Mary Poppins🇧🇷 Rainbow combines not only the rhythm, but also the syllables, consonants, and vowels (shown in bold) from the original song, especially on strong beats and at the beginning and end of phrases. Both Mary Poppins and Randy Rainbow start the first system on 'super' and end on 'docious', and the relatively strong third beat of the first measure is 'fragile(e)' for both (Fig. 2).

Randy Rainbow Layered Parodies - Trax on the Trail (4)

Like many parodists, Rainbow adapts rhyme schemes and repeats phrases from the original songs. In "I'm a Very Stable Genius," Rainbow's parody of Gilbert and Sullivan's "I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General," the lines are paired in three-syllable couplets as in the original (Fig. 3). (Words common to the original and parody are in bold; rhymes are in italics.)

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But Rainbow's parodies also relate to thematic aspects of the original songs. Linda Hutcheon defines parody as “a form of repetition with ironic critical distancing that marks differences rather than similarities” (Hutcheon 2000, xii). In Rainbow's case, that difference often lies not just in the rewritten lyrics, but also in restating a theme or character from the original song in a way that speaks to the political present.


When discussing the cognitive impact of political parodies, psychologists Francesca D'Errico and Isabella Poggi (2016) distinguish between "shallow" parody and "deep" parody. A superficial parody exaggerates the characteristics of a target; A superficial parody of a politician would exaggerate character traits to make him appear incompetent or foolish. Rainbow's "Braggadocious" is a shallow parody that plays on Trump's lack of vocabulary and his tendency to use non-existent words tuned to the tune of a giant made-up word. Deep parody involves recategorization: the parodist attempts to poke fun at a target for a specific feature. First, the parodist finds a category (A) with this characteristic. They then find another category (B) to which the target does not belong but shares that trait. Finally, he classifies the person in this category (B). Parody derives its humor from the recasting of one category into another, often incongruous: authority figures or elevated subjects are reclassified in a demoted category, while subjects from lower socioeconomic strata are reclassified in a higher category.

"Very stable genius

An example of a deep Rainbow parody is "very stable genius', the aforementioned parody of 'I am the true model of a modern major general.' by Gilbert and Sullivan'spirates of penzance🇧🇷 The original song is among the most famous Gilbert and Sullivan Patter songs to feature a fast-paced vocal performance. The humor in Patter's songs often stems from the incongruity of an authority figure spitting out a disjointed list of items at an extraordinarily fast pace. In the song, the Major General is a pompous man who boasts of his own intelligence—he is "full of much news"—but who sounds like a fool, spouting irrelevant and undigested information. Carolyn Williams (2011) argues that the Major General, clad in the pith helmet worn by the British in Africa and India, represented incompetent bureaucrats mismanaging colonies and national defences. In fact, at the end of the song, the Major General admits that his military knowledge is out of date. Furthermore, his many young protégés were considered orphans, symbols of sexual impropriety and illegitimacy in the Savoy comic opera of Victorian London.

The parody is inspired by a quote Trump first uttered on January 6, 2018 in response to Michael Wolff's recently published book.Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House.Wolff portrays Trump as "irrational," "passing," and full of "far-reaching ignorance" (Wolff 2018, 158, 22). reactReporter questions his mental stability, Trump posted the following tweets:

Randy Rainbow Layered Parodies - Trax on the Trail (6)

The quote was immediately picked up by Twitter user @huntthesnark, who started it.Theme of the rewritten lyrics of the song Major General🇧🇷 many others quickly chimed in with their own lines. The next day, a parody of the song: "I am the true model of a very stable genius.' by musician Chris Henson, appeared on YouTube.

Six months later, on July 12, 2018, a reporter at a NATO press conference asked Trump if he would tweet anything else once he left;Trump claimed he was a "very stable genius."This incident is the seed of Rainbow's song (see lyrics in Figure 3).

Rainbow's "Very Stable Genius" and previous parodies on the major general by Gilbert and Sullivan can be parsed as deep parody. They attempt to ridicule Trump's claim that he is a "very stable genius" as a display of self-aggrandizement, pointing to his alleged ignorance, mismanagement of government affairs, and sexual impropriety (Fig. 4). These traits are shared by the authority figures who sing Patter's songs, most notably the Major General. By recategorizing Trump as a Major General, these skits mock Trump as the kind of incompetent and no-nonsense official portrayed by this theatrical character.

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(Video) Randy Rainbow | The Mary Trump Show

The music for the original Sullivan song and the Rainbow parody consists of three stanzas in rounded binary form. This form gives rise to two jokes in each stanza. The first cadences in the dominant before the digression (at the end of the fourth verse of the verse); Rainbow interrupts these endings with a comic pause and rolls her eyes to the side as she sings, "And showing off her great intellect on social media."editorial🇧🇷 A more emphatic pause follows on the eighth line of the verse, ending with a semi-cadence (a dominant chord) preceded by a melodramatic augmented sixth; The chorus then repeats this line three times on a dominant chord before returning to the first melody. Using this outline, Rainbow highlights phrases like "He's undermining everything Obama did because he can," while various replicas of himself echo the words. Singing the Major General song, Rainbow categorizes Trump, the self-proclaimed "very stable genius," as the Major General, an outdated figure of dubious competence who has bought his way to power.

"A Scoop of Clorox"

rainbow"A tablespoon of Clorox', a parody of 'a spoonful of sugar" ForMary Poppins,requires an even more complex set of recategorizations. The starting point for this parody is a quote from the government's coronavirus briefing on April 23, 2020. Deborah Birx, coronavirus response coordinator for the White House Coronavirus Task Force, asks: "And then I see the disinfectant,Where does it turn off in a minute, a minute, and is there a way to get something like that by injection? This question, whether disinfectant can be injected into the human body, revealed an incredible level of ignorance,in the eyes of many, to differentiate between human drugs and household cleaning products and their toxicity to humans. Jennifer Rubin wrote inWashington Postthat this issue was just the latest "contribution... to the impressive portfolio of misinformation, quackery and ignorance that he shared with the American people during thecoronavirus pandemic🇧🇷 Birx visibly squirmed in his chair.

The Rainbow parody has several thematic parallels to the original. In the film, Mary Poppins, a babysitter, convinces the children to clean her room; In the parody, Randy Rainbow, the narrator, repeats Trump's words about cleaning the body of the coronavirus with household disinfectants (Fig. 5). The source material and the parody therefore share the theme of cleaning the house, this time equated with cleaning the body. Rainbow goes into detail about recategorizing household cleaning as personal cleanser and disinfectant as medicine when she begins the intro looking for home remedies, but instead of referring to honey and lemon, she sings: "Anything under the sink / Will drink in a medicine". .

As mentioned above, Rainbow's retention of sentence structures and keywords from the original songs not only improves the listener's ability to recall the original songs, but also contrasts categories of ideas. When Mary Poppins sings


full spoonsugar help medicineto walk

She refers to the practice of giving children sugar to help them take their medicine as a metaphor for finding fun in chores. when the rainbow sings

(Video) Rainbow Friends Backrooms #Shorts


full spoonClorox mide tu temperaturato walk

his line resembles not only the textual structure of Poppins' line, but also its literal meaning. The mental juxtaposition of these two lines categorizes "Clorox" as "medicine" and underscores the absurdity of Trump's proposal.

Rainbow highlights this absurd idea of ​​cleaning yourself inside out with disinfectants, citing no less than eight household cleaning brands: Pledge, Drano, Swiffer, Lysol, Windex, Resolve, Mister Clean, and, of course, Clorox. In this world, the act of cleaning is literally eliminated by medicine: "Whack your mother with a swiffer until she brings her temperature down." up."

  • Randy Rainbow Layered Parodies - Trax on the Trail (8)
  • Randy Rainbow Layered Parodies - Trax on the Trail (9)

Second, Mary Poppins offers a quick and magical solution to the messy bedroom problem: snap your fingers and objects magically fall into place; as well as the children. Rainbow opens the song with a wry imitation of the original (Fig. 6).

Randy Rainbow Layered Parodies - Trax on the Trail (10)

This representation implies that Trump is looking for a quick and magical solution to the coronavirus problem, as if he could solve it with a snap of his fingers.He has repeatedly stated his belief in hydroxychloroquine., as if, despite evidence to the contrary, she wanted a magic cure - a point Rainbow makes when she sings, "Since you're unlikely to leavegain/ With your hydroxychlorWhat /Drop some Windex in your wine and you'll dissolve." Rainbow highlights Trump's tendency to oversimplify medical issues and ignore facts when he sings: "There's no need toexams/ The president suggestsguests🇧🇷 He saves his best joke for the final verse, rhyming two words that would normally be diametrically opposed: “There is no vacine, then try Mr.Sauber' and underline itThe chapelHarmony followed by vocal cadence (reflecting the cadence adopted by the reflection of Mary Poppins).

This magical gesture opens a third theme: children and childish behavior.Mary PoppinsIt's a children's movie, and in A Spoonful of Sugar, Mary Poppins tells children what to do. In her parody, Rainbow assumes a tongue-in-cheek Mary Poppins persona calling on children or childish adults to rid their homes and bodies of the coronavirus. His act has some basis in reality: Shortly after Trump first promoted hydroxychloroquine as a cure for COVID, a couple in Arizona ingested a farmed fish product containing chloroquine phosphate;the husband died🇧🇷 Shortly after, Trump talked about drinking disinfectant, the governor of MarylandLarry Hogan reported that theThe state health department received hundreds of calls.by residents asking if they should bring disinfectant. These incidents showed just how alluring these magical remedies seemed to many Americans, no matter how childish and unrealistic that reasoning.

Rainbow's "A Spoonful of Clorox" highlights the dangers of disinfectants and Trump's comments. One of the first scenes in the video shows a little boy picking up a bottle of bleach; reminds viewers that household cleaning products are generally kept out of the reach of children to avoid injury, i.e. H. only an unsuspecting child would gladly grab bleach. Rainbow shakes her head as she announces that it's "the latest COVID [drinking Clorox] fad." She points out the consequences: "Spray your friend with Lysol until she's six feet deep." She ends up drinking detergent as the screen flashes, "Actually, don't drink cleaning fluids", she feigns an unwanted reaction and falls over. Thus, the video contains both the tongue-in-cheek request to deal with disinfectants, a literal interpretation of Trump's request to Dr. Birx, as well as the literal warning not to.


Rainbow kicked off her Philadelphia show with a montage of videos in which fans thanked her for "keeping her sane"; Barry Manilow sang his hit "Mandy" as "Randy" and commented, "I need you today." Repurposing her music allows her to produce timely skits that stick. But his selection of source songs also reveals a rich web of embedded meanings. Typically, she takes a useful idea shared between a song and a Trump quote and regroups them into incongruous categories, amplifying the mood. Trump's quote about injecting disinfectant to cure COVID allows for the incongruous reclassification of "cleaning products are medicine," an idea that shares two themes, cleaning and medicine, with "a spoonful of sugar." This cognitive process of identifying main ideas and parallels between categories helps listeners understand what is at stake in today's political environment.

(Video) STRANGER TRIES TO KIDNAP KIDS AT THE PARK Ep.1 | The Prince Family Clubhouse

-Noriko Manabe

Consulted references

D'Errico, Francesca and Isabella Poggi. 2016. "'The bitter laugh'. When parody is a moral and affective foundation in political persuasion”.limits of psychology7.https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01144.

Genette, Gerhard. 1997.Palimpsest: second grade literature🇧🇷 Translated by Channa Newman and Claude Doubinsky. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press.

Gibbs, Raymond W. 1994.The poetics of the mind: figurative thought, language and understanding.Cambridge, Gran Bretaña: Cambridge University Press.

Hutcheon, Linda. 2000.A theory of parody: lessons from 20th century art forms. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press.

Lacasse, Sergio. 2000. "Intertextuality and Hypertextuality in Recorded Popular Music." in theThe musical work: reality or invention?, 35–58. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press.

Williams, Carolina. 2011.Gilbert and Sullivan: genre, genre, parody.New York: Columbia University Press.

Wolff, Michael. 2018.Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House.Nueva York: Henry Holt and Co.


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