Assistant News Editor
Have you ever thought about what sound a fox makes? Probably not, but a comedy duo from Norway did. Brothers Vegard and Bård Ylvisåker made a song about it and got more than 40 million YouTube views in just two weeks. This year’s Gangnam Style is called “The Fox.”
“Dog goes woof, cat goes meow, bird goes tweet and mouse goes squeak,” that’s how the Norwegian comedy duo Ylvis begins the hit song “The Fox.” After listing a bunch of animal sounds that we’re all famil- iar with, they head on to the tricky question: What on earth does a fox sound like? Think about it – if you were to imitate one, what would it sound like?
That is the theme in “The Fox,” a song with a colorful music video that went viral since its upload in early September 2013, and just entered 29th place on Billboard’s Hot 100 list last week.
“The Fox” is available for purchase as a single on iTunes and it recently became official that Ylvis signed an album contract with Warner Music in the U.S. The number of YouTube views grows rapidly by the hour, and is now at a speed of around two million views a day.
The comedy duo has their own late-night television show called “Tonight with Ylvis.” They produced the song and video together with Stargate, (a New York-based Norwegian production company known for working with Rihanna, Ne-Yo and Beyoncé, and other artists), and the plan was to air “The Fox” on the season premiere of their show. Even though the Ylvis brothers expected to get some attention for it in Nor- way, they never imagined popularity of this magnitude.
They were also surprised to hear many people compare their song to “Gangnam Style,” last year’s super hit by South Korean pop star Psy, which today has more than 1.5 billion YouTube views.
“What surprised me the most was that even the earliest comments on YouTube were: ‘This is going to go viral,’ and ‘this is the new Gang- nam Style.’ Normally, we get some hits and get some comments for our work, but they’re all about the actual contents of the songs. But these comments were about ‘The Fox’ as a phenomenon, and that was really strange to read,” the Ylvis brothers said in a recent Billboard interview.
The music video “The Fox” has already become popular in the U.S., and many new YouTube videos have popped up, where people post their interpretations of the song. Just last week, a marching band at Ohio University performed “The Fox” instrumentally in front of a large crowd to kick off a college football game. That video already has over a million views.
So what makes “The Fox” so popular? Could it be the humorous theme? Also, who makes a song about fox sounds? In addition, the lis- tener never really finds out what the sound a fox makes. However, here are plenty of suggestions. “Wa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pow!” or “Hatee-hatee- hatee-ho!” are just two of the suggestion, so could it perhaps be the funny potential fox sounds that appeal to listeners?
Maria Lysén Kotti, a senior International Business major, says that the irony makes the song. “The fox song is ironic, but the artists sing the lyrics in a very serious tone, which adds a lot of humor to it,” she added. “Also, if you ignore the lyrics and simply focus on the melody, you’ll probably hear simple, but catchy vibes that sound pretty familiar to ‘Gangnam Style.’”
The melody does have a simple pop or house vibe to it and there are similarities to the “Gangnam Style” beat, a beat that easily sticks due to its simplicity. It is difficult not to hum the rhythm after hearing it.
But could it also be the music video that catches the viewer’s attention? The singers and a bunch of extras wear animal costumes while singing at a cocktail party, dancing in the forest, and run into a fox in
the woods. A Dalmatian dog makes a toast, a yellow chicken shakes his feathery head while dancing, and a mouse walks down the stairs while drinking champagne. There is simply a lot of fun and peculiar stuff to watch.
With such popularity on YouTube, fame and fortune is a likely next step. There is plenty to fetch in ad revenue, and the Ylvis duo has also gotten many new offers. In the Billboard interview, they say: “Oh we’re getting extreme offers. Fully booked tours, record deals from all the biggest companies, and it’s strange; we’re kind of a band, but not musicians.”
It is pretty amazing what millions of YouTube views could mean.