Malls were once the ultimate gathering place and hang-out spot. Teens filled the food courts and loitered around shopping center’s open spaces for hours if we can believe movies and music videos from the ’80s. And in the year that was 2020, malls took a further hit because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Spending extensive time shopping indoors just hasn’t been a desirable activity, even if state guidelines permitted it. And empty malls always carry a bit of a post-apocalyptic vibe, don’t they? That’s why these videos from YouTuber Raspberries and Rum captured our attention. Something about watching music emanate from speakers across images of desolate shopping landscapes is haunting.
We spotted these videos through Morning Brew and quickly fell down a rabbit hole. Let’s start with a classic, Toto’s “Africa,” blasting over a photo of a vacant shopping center.
Why does this enthrall me? Nostalgia for these songs and for peak mall popularity surely contributes. And it certainly feels surreal and looks like a scene unfolding after the end of the world—well, a peaceful apocalypse since not a single thing is out of place. More like everyone suddenly disappeared and “Africa” played on. I can absolutely picture this as a post-credits scene.
Then there’s a-ha’s “Take On Me.” Please note how Raspberries and Rum made the music sound like it’s playing from a tinny speaker system.
And this perfect song and image pairing puts together Depeche Mode’s “Enjoy the Silence.”
These videos are comforting in a way. Even though it’s not footage of these songs actually playing in these locations, it feels real. And it’s kind of comforting to think of places still soldiering on with peppy music despite a lack of patrons. Anyway, they’re mesmerizing to me. And if you are similarly hooked, you can enjoy many, many more songs and empty malls in Raspberries and Rum’s video feed.
Raspberries and Rum
Amy Ratcliffe is the Managing Editor for Nerdist and the author of The Jedi Mind, available now. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.