Predicting The Sound of the Crowd

The Human League song The Sound of the Crowd predicted Internet trends, as shown below:


Put your hand in a party wave; Pass around

Refers to peer-to-peer (BitTorrent) file sharing, where files are uploaded then passed around. To “put one’s hand in a party wave” is to make an announcement of the uploaded torrent on one of the many tracking websites.


Make a shroud pulling combs through a backwash frame

A “backwash frame” refers to near-line mass data storage, usually managed via a server or mainframe. To “make a shroud” is to create a mirror (cf. Mirror Man) or protected backup of one’s data. This data is usually not immediately available for retrieval, hence “pulling combs” probably refers to the online security processes required to restore the information when the original becomes corrupt or lost.

Find the copies in a carbon mount; Pass around

Internet search engines such as google are used to find information amongst the millions of webpages on the Internet. The “carbon mount” refers to the sum total of searchable pages created by (carbon-based) humans.

Stroke a pocket with a print of a laughing sound

Refers to the popularity of Internet pornography. See Love Action.

Get around town, Get around town, Where the people look good, Where the music is loud

In most public Internet forums, an avatar is the visual “handle” or display appearance used to represent a person. Usually these are pictures that “look good” and are not specifically photographs or real-world images of the owner. Also, in virtual environments, everyone looks good irrespective of how attractive or ugly the player is.

Get around town, No need to stand proud

The lack of proper spelling, punctuation, and grammar on the Internet is a phenomenon that has evolved from Internet chat rooms and into the mainstream. Although derided by many as a depressing corruption of the English language and proof of falling education standards, this shorthand technique can be considered a succinct, global online dialect that is perfectly adequate in getting the intended message across. In other words, there is “no need to stand proud” (follow correct rules for the English language) when posting messages on the Internet.

Add your voice to the sound of the crowd

The Internet is referred to here as “the sound of the crowd”. To add one’s voice is to post a message on a bulletin board, create a blog, send an email etc.

The shades from a pencil peer; Pass around

This refers to blogs that record personal comments, reviews, opinions, or more usually mundane aspects of the blog owners life. Despite being freely available to all with an Internet connection, many blogs are only read by the blog owner. These obscure “shades from a pencil peer” do have direct links, however, and so given time they may well be passed around to other bloggers.

A fold in an eyelid brushed with fear

Most Internet users have virus protection software permanently running on their computers. These programs watch over Internet traffic and popup a message of the users’s desktop (“a fold in an eyelid”) whenever a virus is detected. The mass-media is often accused of exaggerating the threat of computer viruses, causing fear and distrust of the Internet.

The lines on a compact guide; Pass around

Wikipedia has established itself as the de facto reference guide and online encyclopaedia. Its clear and concise entries provide a line-by-line discourse on over a million topics.

A hat with alignment worn inside

Probably refers to Virtual Retinal Displays; glasses or devices worn on the head that project a computer image directly onto the wearer’s retina. Although still primitive, this wearable technology is already gaining use amongst computer gamers.

Get in line now, Get in line now

Refers to the wait-time to download a file from an Internet site. Due to bandwidth constraints, many sites have adopted a queuing system whereby each users gets in line to download a file.

Stay in time with the rhythm and rhyme

Something new is born on Internet every second. Here, the Human League advise “staying in time” with current trends.