The Chalkeaters is a three-person Russian music group. It consists of Alios (songwriter and music video director), Masel (audio engineer and arranger), and Ergy (main guitarist and arranger). Aside from the trio, they regularly collaborated with other musicians, mostly vocal artists to sing their lyrics. They have been making songs since 2019.
Perhaps the one thing they are most famous for is their satirical and comedic songs about video games and gaming culture in general, accompanied with distinctly styled animated music videos. Their topics range from public figures like Todd Howard and Gabe Newell, to internet phenomenons and memes. They have a group of animators and artists under their umbrella who contribute towards the music videos.
Their YouTube channel can be found here.
■ DiscographySingles (by year):
- "Bowsette" (feat. M-G UniNew and Nekro G)
- "It Just Works" (feat. Kyle Wright)
- "Breathtaking" (feat. Natalia Natchan)
- "Doom Crossing: Eternal Horizons" (feat. Natalia Natchan)
- "Lock Me Up (Quarantine Song)" (feat. Idrise)
- "It's a Gamer's Christmas" (feat. Natalia Natchan)
- "Crushing Thirties" (feat. Johnny Gioeli)
- "Rise Guys" (feat. Dennis DeMille)
■ Tropes relating to the Chalkeaters' songs and videos include:
- Arc Number: "Count to Three" has the number 3, obviously. The word "three" is said a total of 3 times in the song, and both the single release and YouTube animation cap at 2:59, just shy of the 3 minute mark.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Seen in "Breathtaking" after the flying puppies convert various game companies, causing their leaders to retract their previous controversial stances. The head of EA denounces their "surprise mechanics" lootbox system, the head of Blizzard holds up a sign that says "Free Hong Kong", and Gabe Newell decides to make Half-Life 3.
- Art Shift: The music video for "Doom Crossing: Eternal Horizons" constantly switches between two different art styles for the Animal Crossing and DOOM universes, whenever Isabelle and Doomguy travels between the two.
- Bland-Name Product:
- First seen in the "It Just Works" music video, E3 in this universe is renamed to "F3", which stands for Fan Frustration Festival.
- Also from the "It Just Works" music video, one of the items found inside a chest is a condom branded "Dunmex", a pun on Dunmer (a race of dark elves in The Elder Scrolls) and Durex.
- The art for the "Lock Me Up" music video features a brand of snack called "Chalkitos".
- The Cameo: The real Gabe Newell himself cameos at the very beginning and end of the "Count to Three" music video, fitting given the song is about him and Valve as a whole. The song itself also features Ellen McLain, reprising her role as GLaDOS from the Portal series.
- Care-Bear Stare: The flying puppies in "Breathtaking" attack various game companies with light beams that cause the company buildings to turn pink and spew out rainbows, and the executives of said companies to walk back on their controversial statements and decisions.
- Christmas Songs: "It's a Gamer's Christmas", which showcases Christmas through the lens of your average gamer.
- Classy Cane: In the music video of "It Just Works", Todd Howard dances on stage wearing a tuxedo and carrying a Wabbajack staff.
- Clip-Art Animation: The music videos for "It Just Works" and "Count to Three" animates every character by having them stiffly move about while being propped up from below, giving them the appearance of stick puppets. When a character speaks, the top of their head unhinges at an angle, Pac-Man style.
- Continuity Nod:
- The flying pink puppies from "Breathtaking" make numerous cameos in the music videos following it:
- In "Doom Crossing: Eternal Horizons", one of them is seen as a shirt design in the Able Sisters' store.
- A flock of them make a brief re-appearance in "Count to Three", as seen through the window that Gabe peers into at one point in the video. One of them can also be seen in the Imagine Spot during Gabe's presentation.
- The Sonic the Hedgehog costume in "Rise Guys" is altered from the original game to include a green delivery man uniform, alluding to Sonic's appearance in the music video for "Crushing Thirties".
- The flying pink puppies from "Breathtaking" make numerous cameos in the music videos following it:
- Crossover Ship: Invoked in "Doom Crossing: Eternal Horizons", which depicts a platonic one between Isabelle and Doomguy, the latter visiting the former's world and the two quickly becoming great friends.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: At the very end of "It Just Works", the screen behind Todd shows a Fallout 76-style main menu for a few seconds. Listed on the menu are as follows:It Just Works!
It Just Works!!
It Just Works!!!
E3 Autograph Session
Help Me Please!
Click Here to Sell Your Bags *
- Genre Roulette: Most of their songs have genres that completely differ from each other. Notable entries include "Bowsette" (chiptune rock with rap), "It Just Works" (big band jazz), and "Count to Three" (electro swing).
- A God Am I: Played for Laughs with Todd Howard in "It Just Works"; at one point he even subtly replaced the word "God" with his own name.Our devs could eat the Shadowmere alive, SO BUY SKYRIM ONE MORE TODD-DAMN TIME!
- Growing Up Sucks: The crux of "Crushing Thirties", portraying Sonic the Hedgehog's later life as a literal thirty-something adult now dealing with a lack of money, perpetually worsening physical health, and a strained marriage to his exasperated housewife Amy. To quote the first verse:Youre used to fighting at the speed of sound
But now each time you try you hit the ground
Held by the legacy behind you
When wiki says youre still around fifteen
But time goes by, Green Hill is not that green
You're not a tape and no one can rewind you
- Hold Up Your Score: One short scene in the "Doom Crossing: Eternal Horizons" music video has Isabelle and others rate Doomguy's unicorn costume this way. Isabelle gave it a 10, naturally.
- Imagine Spot: In "Count to Three", while Gabe is holding a presentation for the next Half-Life game, the POV character peers into a VR headset and imagines that Gabe announces the long-awaited Half-Life 3. Cut to reality, where Gabe announces Half-Life: Alyx instead.
- In the Style of: "Crushing Thirties" is in the style of Crush 40's energetic rock music they've done for Sonic.
- Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Keanu Reeves is portrayed as this in the song "Breathtaking".
- Killer Rabbit: Kind, sweet Isabelle turns out to be REALLY effective at slaughtering demons once she crosses over to the DOOM universe.
- Lighter and Softer: "Count to Three", which riffs against Gabe Newell and Valve, is notably more hopeful and lighthearted than its spiritual prequel, "It Just Works". The trio has said that they originally wanted to make a darker toned song similar to "It Just Works", but they eventually ended up making it "more motivating than punishing".
- Lyrical Dissonance: Comparatively, most of Crush 40's prior songs for Sonic the Hedgehog are often motivating, confident, or emphasizing of a character's traits for such. "Crushing Thirties" is the opposite: despite being made in the same kinetic rock style as these songs, the lyrics instead rub in how miserable Sonic's adult life is. Said misery includes his worsening physical health skewering his trademark Super Speed like a pike, him and his old friends drifting apart over time, the day-to-day struggles of making ends meet, and the adulthood depression that comes with all of the above.
- Lucky Charms Title: Not for the song titles themselves, but their YouTube video titles are partitioned with squares ("■"), as part of the branding.
- Mood Whiplash: "Doom Crossing: Eternal Horizons" starts off with a calming ukulele melody not too different from the songs you'd find in Animal Crossing, and then it quickly switches into heavy metal once Isabelle crosses over to Doomguy's universe.
- Parody Assistance:
- Gabe Newell recorded video clips for "Count To Three", as shown at the opening and closing of the song. According to a community post, he also recorded some verses, but requested that they be cut due to his dissatisfaction with his performance.
- Crush 40 vocalist Johnny Gioeli himself did the vocals for the Sonic the Hedgehog parody song "Crushing Thirties", which is itself an upbeat rock piece styled after Crush 40's other songs for the franchise, only with a cynical undertone commenting on Sonic's miserable life going into adulthood.
- Real Men Wear Pink: One of the activities Isabelle and Doomguy do together is having Doomguy try out silly costumes, such as a Winged Unicorn costume. Doomguy looks like he's enjoying it.
- Ridiculously Cute Critter: The puppies in the "Breathtaking" music video. They are bright glowing pink and fluffy, they can sprout wings and fly, the larger ones are rideable, and they attack game companies with light beams of kindness.A whirlpool of puppies in vague neon light
All purple and fluffy, please take me inside
They're swirling and laughing, awakening my mind
- Rule of Three: "Count to Three" has this in spades:
- The word "three" is said only three times in the song.
- The line "This time you're bound to count to" or variants of that line often appear in sets of three.
- The song's runtime is a humorous subversion, clocking in at 2:59.
- Sampling: The Chalkeaters have a knack for incorporating the music of the source materials they're parodying into their songs:
- The beginning of "Bowsette" samples the Castle Theme from Super Mario Bros.
- The main melody of "Doom Crossing: Eternal Horizons" directly quotes the main theme for Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
- GLaDOS' part of the song "Count to Three" references "Want You Gone", the ending song of Portal 2 and also sung by GLaDOS herself.
- Shout-Out: There's a lot in "Crushing Thirties":
- Johnny Gioeli's previous works are referenced and twisted into unfortunate irony:You lose control on the slightest turn!
No time to live, no time to learn!Your cardiologist is prayin' and hopin',
You're lyin' there with your heart wide open!Your MRI came in, but youre afraid of
Finding out exactly what youre made of!
- The brief clip of Silver in therapy shows a room with multiple plush toys of Humongous Entertainment characters, along with one of Jazz Jackrabbit.
- Johnny Gioeli's previous works are referenced and twisted into unfortunate irony:
- Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion: "Count to Three", which teases Valve's apparent inability to release a game with "3" in its name, has Gabe Newell singing this at one point:
- Take That!:
- "It Just Works" is one against Todd Howard and Bethesda Game Studios, given their releases and business practices which didn't bode really well.
- Aside from the obvious pokes at Gabe Newell and Valve in "Count to Three", at one point Gabe sings how Valve may "end up on the other side" if he doesn't do right by fans. The "other side" shown consists of Ubisoft, EA, and Activision.
- While "Crushing Thirties" generally escapes most of the common (and fan-hated) points of mockery that Sonic usually gets, one still slips in subtley; while the opening of the music video shows every Sonic game from the original to Mania, Sonic 06 is noticably absent. Likewise, after Mania is a small segment for Sonic Forces, from which Classic Sonic storms off annoyed.
- Tough Act to Follow: In-Universe, it's the reason Gabe stated as to why Valve's never made any third follow-up to his games he fears that anything less than outstanding will bring major scrutiny against him and Valve.The numbers are intimidating, it's hard to give a fresh new start
When everyone's anticipating another masterpiece of art
- Villain Love Song: "Bowsette" is partly sung from the perspective of the titular character, proclaiming that all her evil schemes are attempts to get Mario's affection, and that Princess Peach doesn't really care about him, but she does.
- Villain Song: "It Just Works" is this for Todd Howard, here portrayed as a swanky con man who sings about how he doesn't care about fan backlash and negative feedback, and that he'll make the same games over and over, while putting little effort into them and overcharging for everything, all because people are gonna buy the games anyway and that "it just works" for him. It's set to a catchy big-band tune, although halfway through, it switches to a very solemn chant, with a chorus of Bethesda fans singing about how they don't want the same tricks all the time. But Howard totally ignores them, and the music picks back up as he goes back to singing about how his strategy works.
- Who's Laughing Now?: Said verbatim by Todd Howard at the end of "It Just Works".