Don’t get us wrong, we like old music. Robert Johnson? Epic. The Rolling Stones? Ace. Elvis? Cracking. Lead Belly? Majestic. But it turns out that not all old tunes are gold tunes.
The oldest song in the world is 3,500 years old, meaning it never stood a chance of getting on a ‘Now That’s What I Call Music’ compilation. Which might be for the best when you hear it, actually. The Daily Mail recently posted a story about the song – well, we can’t say it’s news, seeing as the track was written in roughly 1,400BC, and we immediately switched off the NME office stereo and popped this on instead.
Known as the ‘Hurrian Hymn to Nikkal’ – catchy – Nikkal being the Akkadian goddess of orchards, it was discovered on a tablet in the 1950s in the ancient city of Ugarit in Canaan (now Syria). Let’s just say that it’s not exactly a bronze age banger. Mesopotamia back in the day was evidently not full of budding Lennon and McCartneys.
But maybe that’s just us. Take a listen above and hear the song being played on a lyre and see what you think. Frankly we’re just trying to picture Adele belting out a version on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury, and well, it just doesn’t work for us. This is not a sing-along tune – the melody’s messier than Ed Sheeran at last year’s Brit Awards afterparty.
It’s more like the kind of thing someone attempts on a three stringed acoustic guitar at 6am at house party that makes everyone want to go home. Though the drop at 1.48min is pretty heavy – looks like this is where Skrillex has been stealing his tricks from – and the last forty seconds are a bit like something from the last Swans album. So chin-scratching muso-goths and EDM-loving former emos might find something here to love.