There has been a running gag on Twitter — picking up steam in 2016 but really hitting full stride in 2020 — of remaking Billy Joel’s epic “We Didn’t Start the Fire” with updated lyrics that pick up after its 1989 release; new gripes range from quarantine woes to Me Too accusations. All due respect to those Twitter users just trying to keep themselves entertained during a global pandemic, but that straightforward, melodic tune just doesn’t work for our present chaotic times. Enter Nick Lutsko. The musical comedian who spent most of his pandemic building up a deranged character and world entirely through songs posted to Twitter released a year-end video, titled “2021 Has Been So Fun,” recounting all of the ridiculous things that have happened just in 2021. He’s iterated on Joel’s format here by blowing completely past parody to an homage that feels distinctly current.
With lyrical turns of phrase like “Tucker spent ten nights speculating prime time about the vaccine’s tireless assault on Nicki’s cousin’s friend’s balls,” this is an extremely online opus. It’s simultaneously depressing, disorienting, and deeply funny, which is exactly what it feels like to scroll Twitter. (“The same show’s on every channel and it’s always in rerun” is about the most succinct way of capturing that feeling I’ve ever heard.) There are even plenty of Easter eggs for Gremlins (which is the name for the Lutsko fandom I just came up with) including melodic and lyrical motifs from previous Lutsko videos and references to the Lutsko extended universe’s lore.
To that point, “2021 Has Been So Fun” does a brilliant job of illustrating how the personal and the public are impossibly entwined these days. The lyrics veer between global concerns and personal ones, and the final refrain of “Another late night soaking wet / screaming on the internet” is both a very specific reference to the sweaty protagonist of Lutsko’s videos and an extremely relatable general vibe. As Lutsko knows perhaps better than anyone, we all live on the internet now, and the internet is a nonsense place.