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Let’s Get Weird—All World All Time Best Song Competition: Outer Mongolia

Come for the songs about yak milk, stay for the songs about living in a yurt.

MONGOLIA-FEATURE Photo credit should read JOEL SAGET/AFP via Getty Images

Feel free to click on the first Global Song Competition post in which we determined “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” was Australia’s best ever contribution to music to learn the rules of this game. In short, we didn’t want to talk about the aftermath of the last regular season baseball series, so I started a distraction contest to...

...determine the greatest song of all time, based on my limited knowledge of music and other countries.

First, we’ll go with the smattering of countries I can accurately point to on a globe and spell correctly—sorry, Kyrgustan (nope: it was Kyrgyzstan)—and then, we’ll go state by state in the good ol’ US of A.

*Note: Feel free to disagree with my choices violently, and suggest better songs in the comments. I will not listen to you, nor will it affect the outcome of this ridiculous distraction contest, but I want you all to feel both seen and heard, even though I don’t know what most of you look like, nor sound like, but I want you all to feel effectively placated.

Dear Leader allowed us the glory of a second N country, which filled us with “Potato Pride.” Up now, we travel about 2,000 km East to a land known most for Genghis Khan, Mongolian Beef takeout from Chinese Restaurants, throat yodeling whilst herding yaks outside a yurt village, and Ranier Wolz’s seminal 1980s sitcom Bachelor Nanny.

Are they known for their music? Not remotely. Are they known for their remote location? Yes. Still, Genghis Khan was not exactly known for his skateboarding until time traveling teenagers brought him to the San Demas Mall, and he did a flip over a cop and landed it.

So yeah... uhh... onto the songs.

The Songs

1) “In Praise of Genghis Khan” - Mongolian Traditional Song

Listen to that terrifying demon throat yodeling jam in praise of the man who killed and raped more people than anyone who ever lived (most likely). Who did all this brutality? “The courageous Mongol, Genghis; the sublime lord Genghis.” Try to forget that lyric. I submit that you cannot.

If the throat yodel demonology and lyrical genius isn’t enough, the song stops a little under two minutes in for a children’s recorder recital. Are they good? Dear Lord, no. But, you know, they still made you go to their elementary school and pretend they were.

Then, right back to demonic throat-yodel moaning (often directly on top of said children’s recorder recital).

I can kind of see why Mainland China tried to wall them out, to be honest. On the other hand, I’m all amped up now and ready for warfare. It’s truly a 50-50 reaction, which is rare.

2) Hishigdalai & Gangbay - Miniih

Fast forward to the present, and let’s just say you have to get to White Castle before the weirdos show up. Trust me, after listening to what can only be described as a torturous amount of Mongolian pop music, if Genghis Khan were alive today, he would murder nearly all of his descendants. This is one of the top two Mongolian pop songs of the year, and it’s likely the best of the current Mongolian trash rap that exists. I have no idea what they’re saying here, but I like to assume it’s a cover of Shaggy’s “It Wasn’t Me” and/or one of those horrible songs featuring Ja Rule and, I don’t know, let’s say Ashanti.

A little under a minute in, the guy puts on a beret because the woman is wearing a beret. This was the height of artistic achievement in this video.

Then... it just, you know, continues unabated. Okay, enough of this contemporary yak-shit. Time to hop back in the phone booth and go back in time...

3) Traditional Mongolian Ethnic Music Group - “Khusugtun”

Oh hell, this is ear torture, as well, but at least we get to summon more ancient Yurt Demons with evil throat yodeling. I’m really not sure how much more of this I’ll be able to handle... and the contemporary stuff, as you saw, is infinitely worse. Why not just combine the two and have Outer Mongolian Ja Rule (Genghis Rule, if you will) throat yodel demonic spell bass vocals at Outer Mongolian Ashanti (a yak)?

Oh hell, this song’s still got a minute left. String instrument solo time! I think I clocked a set of Morin Khuurs, a Tovshuur, and a Yatga, but I’m no expert.

4) OTYKEN - Storm

This song fucks. It combines the old and new, as it has both a Jaw Harp AND a Casio Electric Keyboard. It has both power ballad style yell-singing AND traditional demonic throat yodeling. Also, check out the guy in the back behind the keyboardist. I’m relatively certain that is THE Erlik Khan, king of the underworld.

*Side note: I did not expect to be turned on by a Mongolian woman shrieking in the snow. I learned that about myself today. Be open to new experiences and you, too, can be a lifelong learner.

Honorable Mention

Boerte- Gobi

This one has both a Jaw Harp and an Actual Harp, methinks. Oh, and this one does you the favor of waiting until the minute and a half mark to start summoning Yak Milk Demons via throat yodeling, which is nice.

This one’s more upbeat that some of the other traditional songs, so I think it’s either a love song or just a jingle for the Outer Mongolian Tourism Board.

Vote in the Poll


"Potato Pride" won North Korea. What’s the best song Outer Mongolia has to offer?

This poll is closed

  • 45%
    "In Praise of Genghis Khan" - Mongolian Traditional Song
    (14 votes)
  • 0%
    Hishigdalai & Gangbay - Miniih
    (0 votes)
  • 19%
    Traditional Mongolian Ethnic Music Group - "Khusugtun"
    (6 votes)
  • 35%
    OTYKEN - Storm
    (11 votes)
31 votes total Vote Now

Up Next


Which country should represent the letter P?

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    (0 votes)
  • 48%
    (15 votes)
  • 9%
    (3 votes)
  • 41%
    Papua New Guinea
    (13 votes)
31 votes total Vote Now