Culture

'99 Luftballons' performed on actual red balloons

In one of the best song covers we have ever heard, period, a YouTube superstar performs Nena's 1983 single "99 Luftballons" using nothing but red balloons.

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Screenshot by Michelle Starr/CNET

Playing music on lab equipment? Well sure, that's a challenge, but you can see how it could be done. Using nothing but balloons, though? That's a little more of a head-scratcher: how many noises can balloons actually make?

As it turns out, enough to record a multi-track song, as discovered by YouTube musician Andrew Huang after a user challenged him to use the inflatable bags to record 1980s German pop artist Nena's "99 Luftballons" (recorded in English as "99 Red Balloons").

In the end, though, he didn't actually need 99. "Thought about using 99 balloons but it worked with 4 so mehhh," he wrote.

Using those four balloons, Huang laid down multiple tracks -- kick, snare, and bass drum; instrumentals including bass and synths; and the song's melody -- manipulating the rubber in a variety of ways to produce different sounds.

And it sounds unbelievable. If someone had played this audio to us and told us it was nothing but a bunch of balloons, we'd be hard-pressed to take them seriously. You have to see it for yourself. We've also included Nena's "99 Red Balloons" below for comparison.