Back in the day, the best an Internet phenomenon could hope for was a guest spot on Ally McBeal. But things change, and human dignity marches ever backward. In less time than it used to take to download the Hampster Dance on a dial-up modem, Tay Zonday’s musical epic “Chocolate Rain” has spawned thousands of cover versions, reimaginings, and recontextualizations. Even Zonday himself admitted on Jimmy Kimmel that he doesn’t even have time to sort through them all. So, below are the most noteworthy, from worst to best, beginning with John Mayer’s execrable performance on Best Week Ever.
Tragically (and somewhat unbelievably) Mayer doesn’t appear to have ever heard the original song. Though we respect his decision to go for the scatological, it might help if he had some inkling of what “Chocolate Rain” actually sounded like. Perhaps his fans can all pitch in and buy him a laptop.
Green Day drummer Tré Cool’s rendition is much better:
Tré Cool at least makes an attempt to mimic Zonday’s delivery, and he gets some of the oddly hypnotic details of the original video right: He lurches to the right to breathe in, he’s got the headphones, and he even does his own version of the strange grimace Zonday gives when he’s finished singing. What’s more, the live piano and drums he has backing him are better than the original. But he loses points for replacing the yellow backdrop with wood paneling and breaking character at the end. Still, it’s hard to hate on anyone who sings “Build a tent and … something interesting,” and really means it.
Which brings us to the winner: the best version of Tay Zonday’s “Chocolate Rain” that will likely ever be recorded. We direct your attention to Chad Vader, day-shift manager:
The yellow background, the footnote about breathing, the insert shots of the keyboard: They’re all here. And there’s something about Vader’s increasingly frantic delivery of the refrain that’s irresistible, to say nothing of his lyrical meltdown at the end. We recommend looping this video at your office at high volume until you get fired. You didn’t really want that job anyway. —Matthew Dessem