On a recent club night in Chicago, a high-pitched woman’s voice that sounded like a gobbling turkey — dropping acid — brought everyone to the dance floor. Some people swayed, twisting their hips and twirling their hair in a hypnotic lock step. Others pumped their fists and jumped up and down. One woman let out a high-pitched scream, as though she’d just spotted Chris Hemsworth at the grocery store.
The tune was the EDM dance remix of “Renaissance (Main Title Theme),” the wordless title music that plays over the opening credits of Season 2 of “The White Lotus,” the hit HBO Max series about a group of wealthy people who vacation at the luxury resort — and the people who serve them.
Since the second season, set in Sicily, began in late October, remixes of the oscillating harp notes, written by the Chilean Canadian composer Cristobal Tapia de Veer, have spread across TikTok, SoundCloud and in the EDM community. Remixes are now playing in clubs and at music festivals. Last weekend, at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah, Diplo unveiled his own mix at 1:30 a.m.
“Renaissance” is a variation on the series’s Season 1 theme, “Aloha! — Main Title Theme,” also by Mr. Tapia de Veer, which features drums and bird songs (that season was set in Maui) and won an Emmy for best original main title theme music. “Aloha” had the same choppy melody, though it did not take off on TikTok or spawn a club following like “Renaissance.”
What’s different about Mr. Tapia de Veer’s new beat? Here’s how the song became a crowd-pleasing anthem.
Wait, doesn’t everyone nowadays just skip past a show’s theme song?
Aah, the “skip intro” button debate. When it’s the intro song to “The Big Bang Theory?” Yes. When the composer has won an Emmy? Your loss.
When did the song take off on TikTok?
After the first episode of the new season dropped Oct. 30, someone realized: The high-pitched yodeling was danceable. And unlike the Season 1 variation, “Renaissance” climaxes to a throbbing EDM beat near the one-minute mark (the entire song runs 1 minute and 38 seconds long).
Over the next few months, thousands of videos flooded the platform, with users setting the ethereal earworm to their own kooky dance moves, frying eggs and lawn manicuring.
Why can’t I get it out of my head?
Edward Venn, a professor of music at Leeds University in England, broke it down for British GQ in the fall: “It’s the way that the initial minor chord moves to the major — offering a sense of hope, of respite — only for it to slide back, continually and unstoppably, to the threatening implications of that minor chord,” he said.
So how did it get into clubs?
For weeks, Twitter, TikTok and Instagram users have been sharing videos of partygoers dancing ecstatically as the twisted operatic notes soar through basement bars and packed clubs.
The rapper and “Euphoria” star Dominic Fike closed a set at the Terminal 5 music venue in Manhattan with the eerie melody in December, the latest instance of a tune from TV becoming a party staple (we see you, Wednesday Addams and your jerky, infectious “Goo Goo Muck” dance).
Where else has it shown up?
It turns out that the operatic discothèque sound bath — punctuated by human screeches — works just as well on a large scale as a small one. The Killers opened several stadium shows in December with the song.
Days before the show’s finale, a music festival in Australia played the song, to which many in the crowd of thousands of bucket-hatted and fanny-packed revelers tried to vocalize — erm, sing? — along.
A heart-pounding remix of the ululating anthem even made an appearance at the end of a “Saturday Night Live” skit last weekend, played by another pop culture phenom: the killer robot doll M3gan, the newly minted camp horror icon with some dance moves of her own.
What are some of the best remixes?
One popular mash-up features Jennifer Coolidge and her meme-ready rant: “Please, these gays. They’re trying to murder me.” Another, unveiled by the Dutch DJ Tiësto at a Miami Beach club on New Year’s Eve, makes you want to bang your head until you can’t feel your face. And there is a luscious tech house beat by Westend that will have your stereo shaking.
“It captured the feral nature that’s inside all of us and that especially comes out on the dance floor,” said Tyler Morris, a New York-based DJ and music producer who spins under the name Westend. “Every time I play it in my DJ sets, it’s a showstopper.”
How do you dance to it?
Fist pumps, waving arms and synchronized — or not — flailing limbs, seem to be popular. The robot — or even a fast-moving zombie imitation à la “The Last of Us” — might work well here.
Any word on the theme music for Season 3?
While the show has been renewed for a third season, there’s no word yet on the next resort destination. The only thing that might be more popular than the EDM “Renaissance”? A K-pop version.