Home Think Features ‘That Funny Feeling’ is the best modern ‘We Didn’t Start the Fire’

‘That Funny Feeling’ is the best modern ‘We Didn’t Start the Fire’

It has been a couple of months since the release of Bo Burnham’s latest Netflix special Inside, a combination of one man show, live album, diary, performance and art piece.

By now just about everyone has had a shot at writing up hot takes, singing the show’s virtues or just having a go at what this deeply personal piece means to both Burnham himself, and everyone else who experienced the pandemic inside.

But let’s take a look at one specific song from the special called “That Funny Feeling”. And, if you’ve read the headline, I think it’s a good attempt at a modern version of “We Didn’t Start the Fire” by Billy Joel.

We Didn’t Start the Fire is an odd mix, a timeless tale of things being broken before we’re all even born, as well as a snapshot of the world between the birth of Joel and the release of the song in 1989.

That Funny Feeling, is in contrast, more contemporary, both because it deals with modern day events and because it focuses on the most present future from the past few years.

At this point it would help to watch or at least listen to the song. For the former you will need to go to Netflix because it has not been uploaded to YouTube unlike other songs from Inside such as Welcome to the Internet, White Woman’s Instagram and All Eyes on Me.

You can, however, simply listen to all the music from Inside on several streaming services.

Using the subtitles on Netflix we’ve transcribed the lyrics from That Funny Feeling so you can follow along as you listen:

I can’t really, uh, play the guitar very well
Um, or sing, so…
You know, apologies

Stunning 8K resolution meditation app
In honor of the revolution
It’s half-off at the Gap
Deadpool’s self-awareness
Loving parents, harmless fun
The backlash to the backlash
To the thing that’s just began

There it is
Again
That funny feeling
That funny feeling
There it is
Again
That funny feeling
That funny feeling

The surgeon general’s pop-up shop
Robert Iger’s face
Discount Etsy agitprop
Bugle’s take on race
Female Colonel Sanders
Easy answers, civil war
The whole world at your fingertips
The ocean at your door
The live-action Lion King
The Pepsi halftime show
Twenty thousand years of this
Seven more to go
Carpool Karaoke
Steve Aoki, Logan Paul
A gift shop at the gun range
A mass shooting at the mall

There it is
Again
That funny feeling
That funny feeling
There it is
Again
That funny feeling
That funny feeling

Reading Pornhub’s terms of service
Going for a drive
And obeying all the traffic laws
In Grand Theft Auto 5
Full agoraphobic
Losing focus, cover blown
A book on getting better
Hand-delivered by a drone
Total dissociation
Fully out your mind
Googling “derealisation”
Hating what you find
That unapparent Summer air
In early Fall
The quiet comprehending
Of the ending of it all

There it is
Again
That funny feeling
That funny feeling
There it is
Again
That funny feeling
That funny feeling

Hey, what can ya say?
We were overdue
But it’ll be over soon
You wait
Hey, what can ya say?
We were overdue
But it’ll be over soon
Just wait
Hey, what can ya say?
We were overdue
But it’ll be over soon
You wait
Hey, what can ya say?
We were overdue
But it’ll be over soon
You wait
Hey, what can ya say?
We were overdue
But it’ll be over soon
You wait

We won’t be going through every line of the song like several YouTube channels have cottoned on to doing, so let’s just discuss some topics brought up above.

The lyric “Deadpool’s self-awareness” or some reference to Burnham and Inside now appear in the comments of everything related to the superhero. When Deadpool was intermingled with the MCU, by way of an advert for the movie Free Guy, this line of the song came up often.

Sticking with movies and the lines about backlash are particularly apt. It’s not uncommon for movies to be review bombed or otherwise hated by the public before they even launch, and even before early critic reviews are out. The live action Lion King, also mentioned in the song, received some of this treatment just because it was / is a remake of a Disney classic animation.

Two celebrities mentioned by name here are Steve Aoki and Logan Paul a pair who, coincidentally, have been buying up expensive Pokémon cards and causing a boom in the market which has not existed since the original cards came out in the late 90s.

Paul especially kicked this with several videos on YouTube which has sparked a wave of “investors”, scalpers and other bad actors hoovering up cards with the simple intention of exploiting the fanbase and making money.

This has lead to several stock shortages and remaining cards available for sale going up exponentially in price. This has lead to newcomers, especially children, being unable to even find cards at stores. Infamously, in May, the US retail chain Target stopped selling Pokémon and other trading cards over ongoing violence involving guns.

If you want to put on something in the background with a full account of everything that has happened to this hobby, we suggest this video. Listen to it as a podcast as it’s nearly an hour long.

Finally let’s talk about some existential dread and upcoming disaster. Several points in the song mention this, such as the “the ocean at your door” (referencing climate change) and the mentions of mass shootings which continue to happen on an almost daily basis in America.

While the pandemic and COVID-19 is never mentioned directly once in Inside, despite it being somewhat of a basis for the entire special, this song’s ending maybe talks about it the most.

The repetition of “we were overdue” could refer to the fact that COVID-19, which took the world by surprise, was not too surpassing to those familiar with pandemics. All the way back in February 2007 there’s ominous headlines such as “a severe pandemic is not overdue – it’s not when but if“, and countless others.

The way humankind conducts itself, especially around its treatment of animals, has always caused these problems and it seems COVID-19 has taught us very little. Experts warn that more pandemics are bound to happen in the future.

There’s a lot more to unpack with this song so give it another listen.

That Funny Feeling isn’t the same type of song as We Didn’t Start the Fire. It doesn’t cover nearly as much history and we doubt it will have anywhere near the same lasting appeal, but it is a nice little summation of recent years and we think it, along with most of Inside, will be revisited fondly in the future.

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