Saturday, September 7th, 2013

Ylvis – The Fox

Minor internet ephemera. Yep, we’re all over that shit.

Iain Mew: “It is maybe the greatest thing that has ever happened to the internet” says someone on Wikipedia. The internet needs higher standards. The animal noises ruin any momentum as a song so it has to rely on comedy, but from the premise on there’s not much that works. Foxes go “yip,” surely more widely than elephants go “toot,” and Ylvis’ English is clearly too good for the mangled chorus to be anything other than a poor excuse to sing something that sounds like “what the fuck,” whatever the cost. The marks are for horse/Morse, which is irresistibly stupid.

Jonathan Bradley: “Friday” through the looking glass: where Rebecca Black was too ridiculous to be real, this is too real to be plausibly ridiculous. No one involved believes “The Fox” is reaching for deep universal truths. They’re trying to sell ESL yuks as genuine comedy. It wouldn’t even be funny were it authentic.

Edward Okulicz: More lols for people to share on Facebook without realising how unfunny it is and how unfunny they are for doing so. And it’s not even a good example of a song about animal noises!

Anthony Easton: If you hear the horse talk to the fox in Morse code, make sure that it is not some kind of Clever Hans effect.

Madeleine Lee: My initial instinct was to scan the lyrics as mondegreens from a language I don’t speak fluently, which I’m sure is half the idea – that if you weren’t paying attention, this could blend into the background at a hip Scandinavian dinner party, until the screeching, howling and ring-ding-dinging punchline in the chorus, the host’s joke on his guests. But the other half of the idea is the lyrics, and on that note, the repeated angel metaphor feels tossed-off in the wrong way; it’s either too grandiose or too directly satirical, whereas the rest of the song works because it’s simple and, beneath the merry pranking, sincere. The scenes of an old man reading to a child aren’t the parts that feel out of place.

Brad Shoup: As a parody of EDM (I think that’s how I’m supposed to hear it), it’s as weak as the vocals, which code more Italo house than modern blisspop. The scatting bits substitute for the standard wubbery: good for a chuckle. Something this custom-fitted for absurdity needs a passable framework. Otherwise, it’s just a punky pisstake, something gleaned from The Manual‘s SparkNotes. The Lonely Island — who respect the source material, even when they forget the jokes — must be kicking themselves.

Scott Mildenhall: Very clever, and it would be even if only for the exclamation; clearly they’ve been to the Shamen school of mondegreening, where it will no doubt be reverberating around courtesy of its younger pupils for the next week or so. The production is hardly Stargate’s best, but it’s Stargate’s, so it is redolent of contemporary pop (and the Morse gag suggests Ylvis “get” it), but purely to listen to it’s not all that amazing. The song it most resembles, at least in the verses, is “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons, and too many people know what noise they make.

Mallory O’Donnell: Well, you can’t say they didn’t have a concept. There’s something impossible to reconcile between Ylvis’ canny summation of pop trends and their overall naivety about what actual humans enjoy listening to. Still, this really should be heard if only to give yourself acid flashbacks.

Jer Fairall: The low-grade chintz of the production grates nearly as much as the idiotic vocals and nonsense lyrics once it is revealed that this was helped along by industry professionals. Don’t blame idiots for being idiots, in other words; do blame insiders (no matter how otherwise hack-y) for helping them along, and especially blame a meme-culture that routinely elevates the kind of garbage that would have immediately vanished into obscurity in a more selective marketplace. The Sharknado of music, essentially.

Will Adams: Every generation gets the Crazy Frog it deserves.

Reader average: [4.66] (21 votes)

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9 Responses to “Ylvis – The Fox”

  1. In the “pseudo-swearing by Scandinavians” stakes, I’ll take French Maid and their awful song over this any day.

  2. Iain’s on the mark, but I’m inclined to be a bit more generous than him, if only for how well this captures the inane nature of EDM. And the addition of scatting at the end is just bizarre enough to work.

    But yeah, the abrasiveness of the sounds in the chorus sinks it.

  3. I’m with Madeleine here – it works so if you don’t listen to the lyrics of the verses, it’s really easy to ignore. There’s a few holes in the construction, but I’m a bit confused how something so inane warrants such condescension (looking at you, Edward).

  4. The Internet turns harmless novelties into living breathing pop songs that you actually have to hear, at which point I look at them as if that’s what they are. And this doesn’t have the saving graces that something like “Friday” has, therefore, zero, with condescension.

  5. just wondering, but whatever happened to user ratings?

  6. They’re still there as far as I can see!

    The number of votes no longer shows on the front page because the site was going very slowly and I thought calling the reader review script 10 times wasn’t helping, and also I wanted to encourage people to click in. Might look at reinstating it since I did a database clean the other week.

  7. It is a goofy comedy clip for a Norwegian tv show, in the vein that they have done for quite some time now. The interesting thing here is that there are clearly SEVERAL ways of missing the point:

    1) “pseudo-swearing” / “mondegreen” / what-the-fox-vs-what-the-fuck: no, that is OBVIOUSLY a coincidence to anyone near to the culture in which this was made. They cannot even have thought of this. Sorry, you’re wrong.

    2) “the animal noises ruin any momentum”: Uhm. The animal noises are *all there is to it*.

    3) Sorry to reiterate: this is not a Song by a Band, it is a silly tv skit! It’s “Dick in a Box” except kids are allowed to hear it and love the silly animal noises!

  8. Fair dos if you say there’s no intention of double entendre, but I think it’s reasonable to imagine (as I ignorantly did) that a pair of comedians who’ve written numerous songs in the English language for a Norwegian audience might have noticed that. Would it be possible for a philistine Brit like me to get a handle on why that’s so implausible? I’d like to know, I make no claims of understanding its whole context.

    What I can’t agree with is the idea that the animal noises are all there are to it, though. It might be a sketch, but it’s a sketch with an actual, Stargate-produced song in it, and that’s what I wrote about.

  9. Essentially, taken out of context, this is as valid to us as a Lonely Island song skit skong, which we also “do”. That said, I’d be completely shocked if, in a country where English is quite widely understood, one of its most universally understood words isn’t detected here and if that wasn’t part of the point. I mean, the same way far more people know what “merde” or “scheiße” mean than can speak any French or German, “fuck” is surely not obscure to non-Anglophone Europe?

    (Or do I just want it to not be about yiffing.)