If, unlike me, you don’t spend an embarrassing number of hours scrolling through TikTok each week, you may be wondering why the campy disco hit “Rasputin” is climbing the charts more than four decades after its original release. Boney M.’s ‘70s ode to “Russia’s greatest love machine” is having one hell of a moment, its virality on TikTok fuelled in part by nostalgia for its iconic dance routine in the Just Dance franchise but also because, well, it’s a silly song about an infamous Russian holy man and his big dick energy. Naturally, the internet is obsessed.
My favourite thing to come from this meme so far might just be this week’s rendition that uses an ensemble of gadgets, including a steam iron, a credit card machine, and a PlayStation 2 controller, to play the Euro-disco earworm.
Device Orchestra, one of our favourite obscure tech channels on YouTube that we featured earlier this week, shared the performance on Thursday after “Rasputin” won a poll among the channel’s Patreon supporters. All told, the orchestra includes four electric toothbrushes, two electronic typewriters, one credit card machine, a PS2 controller, and a steam iron filled with diluted smoke fluid, according to the video. Oh, and plenty of googley eyes and jiggly pipe cleaner arms.
In its videos, Device Orchestra takes mundane electronic devices and turns them into artists, recreating popular music tracks by performing their designed function timed to a beat. Along with footage of them playing are interludes of the gadgets dancing “really wunderbar” via a bit of stop-motion magic. It’s entirely too cute. Some of the orchestra’s previous covers include “Believer” by Imagine Dragons, Billie Eilish’s “Bad Guy”, and the Pokémon theme song.
The internet’s obsession with “Rasputin” has skyrocketed since the song first began going viral last fall. The track made it on the Billboard Global Excl. U.S. chart this year, something it didn’t manage to do upon its first release in 1978, and continues to top weekly music charts worldwide along with a popular remix of the original. My apologies to anyone out there who’s sick of hearing it already — it doesn’t look like the hype train for “Russia’s greatest love machine” is going away anytime soon.