Every morning, the residents of Pyongyang, North Korea are treated to this, the eerie theme song of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea blasted over loudspeakers to rouse them from the illusion they might have a normal day. Just about every Western visitor reports the experience as being intensely creepy. “Bizarre, sci-fi dystopia” is a common phrasing. “What the unabridged fuck?” is another. But even the North Koreans can be weird about it; one Australian tourist asked his guides about it, only to get the response: “What music?”
There is an explanation of sorts. For the song at least, not the endless years of insanity. The tune is apparently called “Where Are You, Dear General?” and was reportedly written by Kim Jong-il.
It was originally written for a Revolutionary Opera, a style which you should not be at all surprised to learn North Korea is quite fond of, and if you’re wondering, yes it does sound less creepy when sung and not being blasted across the city while being played on a goddamned theremin.