The internet comment section is a place of turbulence, trolling and senseless debate—a true free-for-all that can either provide enlightening conversation or day-ruining insults. On YouTube, the comments are just as predictable. In between specks of meaningful insight or interesting takes on the videos, you’re scrolling through a sea of varying iterations of the same 19 types of comments.
Since YouTube’s most-watched clips are its music videos, let’s dive into the comments you’ll inevitably stumble upon when you’re watching any sort of music on the site—from “Who’s watching in 2017” to “Come to Brazil!!!” to the simplest, yet most annoying “This song sucks.”
These comments are mostly about the lack of “talent” and instruments played and assumptions about Auto-Tuned vocals. These people will also be the first to be the killjoy about lip-synching at live events and award shows.
Oh, you feel sorry for this generation for being stuck with its current collection of pop music? The beauty of the internet means that you have the power to click on Van Halen’s “Jump” right before diving into “Roar” by Katy Perry… and you’re not stuck to any one era or genre. Imagine that.
Although we discarded “gay” as an insult after we all became woke (or when Eminem drove the reference into the ground in the aughts), there are still trolls who revel in the word in the YouTube comment section. Doesn’t matter what it is…it’s, “gay.” These kinds of comments may remind you of your school bus-riding days, when insecure bullies couldn’t think of any interesting insults to hurl your way, so instead, they whipped out the most unoriginal “you’re gay” and let you cower in your seat until you got home.
Whether it be an ad with a dope song, a vlogger with a great (or questionable) taste in music or a videogame with an intriguing soundtrack, there will always be something that gave a YouTube commenter that juice to comment, “here because of [whatever-reference-you-probably-won’t-get-unless-you’re-also-there-because-of-that-reference].” And when a viewership reunites in a different place than where they usually meet on online, it’s a pretty cool thing. It’s like chance-meeting your coworker at a concert—who knew they liked the same band as you? And while 60 percent of comment sections are made up of this type of comment these days, it’s good to know that people can still have an open mind about music and listen at the suggestion of someone else.
It doesn’t matter the decade, music will always be the best when you’re a teenager—that is, according to commenters reliving their glory days on YouTube. It’s totally awesome that they’re getting nostalgic with one of their old favorites—as we all should—and watching vintage clips of those times is a good way to pay homage to your musical coming-of-age. If you’re a ‘90s kid, you’ll always have that special place in your heart for the ‘90s. If you’re a hippie child, you’ll always crave music from the ‘60s over everything else. Branch out all you want, but keep your pride in your g-g-g-generation.
These commenters have to prove to everyone that, like Neil Armstrong, they were the first person to set foot on this musical territory. “Been listening since 2002,” they say, like they’re staking a flag in the ground, letting the universe know that they were there first. After all, how are strangers going to know how dope their taste in music is?
In all honesty, it’s sweet to see a band’s OG fans geek out on YouTube, and it’s even cooler to know that, along with bandwagon fans, they also have the people who have been there the whole time.
On every music video on YouTube, you are certain to come across someone claiming that the band you’re listening to is the best band in the world. And that might be true! No doubt, comment sections are all about peaks and valleys, so for every “this band had no talent” comment you see, there’s going to be comments that say, “this is the best band of all time.” Whether or not that’s true, you have to appreciate the enthusiasm. Even though every band can’t be the G.O.A.T., when you’re feeling a song, they very well may be.
One of YouTube’s smartest features is that you can go directly to a point in a video just by clicking on a timestamp left in the comments. So if you want to celebrate a perfectly juicy beat drop with fellow music lovers, all you have to do is follow the hyperlinked 1:45 to that juicy beat drop. Leave it to the wise guys out there to link to the entire song with their timestamps. “The best part of the song is 0:00 to 4:13.” Very clever. And very overdone.
Sometimes, you’ll stumble upon a person who got to one music video when they meant to watch a different one of the same title. For example, “Don’t Let Me Down” could’ve been a Beatles joint or a Chainsmokers joint. And if you’ve spent anytime on planet Earth, you know those two fandoms are on opposite sides. If you’re a Beatles fan, you’re sure as hell going to comment about how The Chainsmokers’ song with the same title is far inferior. If you’re a Chainsmokers fan, you’re going to…well, you’re actually going to stay out of the conversation.
Trolls, trolls, trolls. They’re inescapable. They’re everywhere. These types of commenters usually dwell in the “reply” section of the comments. They wait for someone to say something they can make a bland joke about and then pounce. They’ll hold a never-ending, back-and-forth comment duel underneath a music video and their dull conversations will have nothing to do with the music itself. Best to ignore.
“Listening from Brazil!!” “Any Brazilians listening?” “Come to Brazil!” For some reason, Brazil seems like the most music-hungry nation filled with millions of fans who have quick fingers. They’re quick enough to leave some sort of “Brazil loves you” on every single video. Brasileiros take to YouTube in whirlwinds of Portuguese and English, leaving little pockets of their pride behind for other Brazilians to find. They’re the first to comment and the last to comment. And no matter what you’re listening to—from Beyoncé to Tom Petty—you can’t miss them.
There was a time when musicians got plucked off YouTube by managers and record labels and were made into superstars like Justin Bieber or Alessia Cara. While that still happens, the competition is thicker now, with singer-songwriters plaguing YouTube with covers and originals in the hopes that they’ll get noticed by hotshots, as well. Don’t be surprised if you see one of these people working to get their music heard. “I’m just an aspiring singer trying to get you to check out my channel!” These types of comments aim to catch your attention and make a fan out of you. Or at least get a single view from you. Either way, you’ve got to respect their hustle.
Haters can’t hide on YouTube, and they don’t want to. Instead, they let their hater flag fly free. These people can’t wait to tell you how much they don’t like something. So even if they have no reason to actually watch a video, they’ll visit the page anyway, just to tell you they don’t approve—as if that makes them better than you. The above comment is from Justin Bieber’s “Baby” video, which got enough hate when it first came out. Seven years later, there are still commenters who have to rain on the parade by not only giving the vid a thumbs down, but to tell everyone they gave it a thumbs down. How else will strangers know how they feel?
Does your kid have an eclectic taste in music? Do you definite “eclectic” as, “anything but Top 40”? These folks are all over YouTube bragging about it. There’s nothing that gives parents more pride than when their kids do something that other kids aren’t doing, like listening to Taylor Swift or, like, Soulja Boy or something. Perhaps they’re into Pearl Jam or Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. Perhaps they shun One Direction and Fifth Harmony and opt for songs from three generations before them. Perhaps they’re super into free jazz. These comments are all about how cultured they are.
Music videos are rife with EOS lip balm, Plenty of Fish profiles, Beats headphones (and the Beats Pill, too), Pinnacle vodka, Nokia flip phones, Ice Watches and Diet Coke, and they have been for years. So it isn’t anything new to be seeing Fergie swipe on a layer of that EOS lip stuff over her puckered pout in her latest visual. Regardless of how old the music video is, there’s always someone who comments about the glaring attempt at seamless product placement, as if no one else was aware of the blatant advertising.
Fans who go way back want to revel in nostalgia, even if they’re only 12 years old. So when you’re reminiscing about the tracks you’d listen to on your car stereo when you were 18, there are tweens out there remembering the good ol’ days when they were just eight-and-a-half. There are a lot of minors lurking around YouTube, bragging about their youth as if other strangers should pat them on the back for having an early appreciation for music. Who cares how old you are?
“Who’s listening in 2017?” Perhaps the most common comment in all of YouTube Land, “Who’s listening in [pick a year]?” doesn’t seem to be a feigning trend. It’s the comment that lets everyone know that a certain Ed Sheeran bop from 2014 is still a bop, that you’re dedicated to good ol’ Ed for the years to come. There are some variations on this comment, of course: some get oddly specific, like, “Who’s listening on January 27, 2017 at 1:04 p.m. ET?” That’s a little absurd, but hey, anything that starts a community, right? That’s all the comment section is, anyway. A community. Well, and a barren tundra of meaninglessness.
If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all. At least, that’s what Thumper taught us in Bambi. However, on the internet, if you can’t say something nice, do everything you can to just make a bunch of blabber. And, when you can’t form words, just go for a delightful text blob. There are so many corny designs to chose from, but hell, go for the dancing “fabulous” guy, or better yet, go for the ever-ridiculous Windows dialogue box. All you have to do is copy and paste if from the last person who had nothing better to say.
YouTube’s all-ages viewership is pretty impressive. Everyone from ranting grandpas to middle-aged vloggers to twentysomethings with beauty tutorials and teen DIYers have a platform and a comment section. So why does it seem that sometimes there are only 14-year-old boys lurking below the videos? Leave it to these dweebs to alert their fellow dweebs about where every butt and boob exists on the site. With a simple comment, they’ll direct you to the exact moment in a music video where there’s a nip slip or see-through blouse, as if no one saw it the first time watching.
Unfortunately, this obnoxious, sexist trend has made it to YouTube, too. There’s always some dude typing so matter-of-factly about the song’s subject, as if you didn’t already know. Whether it’s telling you that Third Eye Blind songs were about crystal meth, that Goo Goo Dolls sang about abortion or that Ariana Grande’s “Side to Side” is about intercourse-induced waddling, they’re always explaining the plot.