"Tik Tok," the debut single from the young electropop singer Ke$ha, is a thick, buzzing pileup of synths and disco beats, draped with heavily Auto-tuned lyrics about getting thrown out of nightclubs and brushing one's teeth with whiskey. It's not a song that lends itself to the "heartfelt acoustic ballad" treatment. But that's the approach Rod Pires, a teenager from Wakefield, Rhode Island, takes in the above clip. Accompanying himself on guitar, Pires finds a melody in "Tik Tok" that was only barely present in the original version, and sings the whole song without a trace of irony; his grin suggests the surprised joy of someone who's discovered a rush of feeling in the unlikeliest of places.
Nadia Lopez didn't think anybody cared about her middle school. Then Humans of New York told her story to the Internet—and everything changed.