Are we being Rickrolled… again? The “Never Gonna Give You Up” meme has returned, and it’s even weirder than usual. Some wacky madman went and remastered Rick Astley’s iconic “Never Gonna Give You Up” music video, using AI tools to deliver it at 60 frames per second and bless it with 4K resolution. The result? The once slightly blurry images are now crystal clear, meaning that Astley’s luxurious red hair shines more brightly than ever and that the few background dancers shimmying away seem even more awkward than before, as if that were possible. Suddenly we’re seeing all sorts of things we’ve never seen — or wanted to see — before.
Really, what’s with the guy bouncing off the chain-link fence? Boing! Tell me, now, please!! We also get occasional random flips by male dancers, including the hyperactive bartender – who kinda looks like the guy bouncing off the fence. And what’s with the female dancer going full-on demonic at the 1-minute, 47-second mark? Those evil white eyes; we can’t unsee them!
It all makes it painfully obvious that the original music video, shot in London in 1987 by director Simon West, who went on to helm Con Air, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, and The Expendables 2, was produced on a budget the equivalent of a fish and chips dinner. A few bits in daylight, a few at night, several indoors at an empty catering hall, several outdoors. Astley changes outfits three times, one more casual than the next, including one all-denim ensemble that was surely returned to the Gap in Trafalgar Square the next morning for a full refund. Also, call me nuts, but this new video re-confirms that Astley either barely opens his mouth when he sings or he’s the worst lipsync-er in the history of cheesy 80s music videos.
However you slice it, the latest iteration of the enduring “Never Gonna Give You Up” craze is as gloriously disturbing and disturbingly glorious as ever. Astley, no surprise, is trending on Twitter as we speak. Nobody can give him up, especially when he looks this uncanny — and this in focus.