Sea shanties: the gift that keep on giving.
US Navy Band Taylor Swift Sea Shanty
Credit: United States Navy Band

In case you haven't heard, sea shanties are having a bit of a moment. The traditional folk songs have captivated mainstream audiences for the first time in generations thanks to TikTok, a Scottish postal worker named Nathan Evans, and now, the United States Navy Band.

The craze started when Evans shared his rendition of an old whaling song, "Soon May the Wellerman Come," to the video-sharing app in late December. Other people soon joined in, adding vocals and instruments to the track with TikTok's duet feature. Since then, videos with the #seashanty hashtag have racked up more than three billion views, reports The Wall Street Journal.

Last week, the shanty experts in the United States Navy Band joined in on the fun by putting a nautical twist on a 2012 Taylor Swift hit, "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together."

The band shared a music video for the song on Twitter adding, "we were very much into this music before it was cool."

The singers perform the modern lyrics in traditional sea shanty fashion, even managing to slip in a line from another Swift hit: "I Knew You Were Trouble."

"And I knew you were trouble when you walked in," one sailor exclaims in a pirate voice. "Awwk. Trouble!" another sailor squawks while flapping his arms.

US Navy Band Taylor Swift Shanty
Credit: United States Navy Band

Musician 1st Class Chris Buchanan, staff arranger for the United States Navy Band and the man who wrote the Swift parody, told Southern Living that he doesn't think the sea shanty phenomenon came out of nowhere.

"I think that elements of the Sea Shanty are resonating with people today for reasons that transcend the aesthetic of the music," explained Buchanan. "The Sea Shanty was a work that involved communal effort—a piece of music that facilitated the physical realization of a task."

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"As we close in on 11 months of various stages of isolation, from social distancing to strict lockdowns, it's obvious that that sort of communal gathering and effort has a certain appeal," he continued. "We yearn to be together, so much so that people are willing to sing centuries-old whaling songs on TikTok to find that sense of community."

For those who take their sea shanties a little more seriously, you can find the United States Navy Band's more-traditional shanties on YouTube.