UPDATE (Tuesday, 3:45 p.m.): Clarifies the chronology surrounding "Stonehenge."
Hey, remember how hard you laughed at "Gangnam Style" the first time you heard it? Before it got played into the ground and somehow became a legitimate radio hit, separate from the video that made it funny in the first place? Yeah, well, feast your eyes on the successor to the "Gangnam" throne.
It's called "The Fox" and it's the new single from Norwegian duo Ylvis. They're a brother comedy group from the land of black metal who do variety shows. Now the duo of Bård and Vegard Ylvisåker -- yes, I copied that last name off Wikipedia; you think I can spell that off the top of my head? -- has struck gold with the most brilliant parody of contemporary American music I've heard in ages.
"The Fox" skewers overblown videos and trashy pop music so deftly it's sometimes easy to forget that it's actually a self-aware parody. It has all the requisite raver lasers, awkward CGI, inane lyrics -- half of which consist of nothing but trying to sound like a fox without knowing what kind of sound a fox even makes -- and even animal costumes straight out of the video for Capital Cities' recent hit "Kangaroo Court."
The thing is, again, the brothers Ylvisåker sell it so damn well, it's hard to even notice at first that they're joking. This was a real labor of love, crafted with such care that it almost verges into being a serious pop tune despite itself.
The CGI, dumb and absolutely out of place as it is, is actually very well done. The choreography is impressive. The singing and production is spot-on and displays real talent. It's like the Lonely Island if they had the serious musical chops of Weird Al Yankovic's recording band.
But it is self-aware, which in my opinion makes it even better. It's what elevates it from being funny in a cheap way, like thinking that maybe their English is so atrocious that this is the best song they could write under the circumstances, to being hilarious in a sly, knowing way, like any good bit of comedy.
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Since striking gold a week ago with the brilliance of "The Fox," Ylvis has taken on a combination of '80s power balladry and post-Radiohead plodding piano beats with
their immediate follow-up "Stonehenge," which was released two years ago but has surfaced stateside in the wake of Ylvis' sudden popularity.
It's not quite as funny, nor as on the nose, since its style seems to be hitting upon something that was a lot more prevalent and aggravating 20 years ago. Still, it showcases the same comedic timing and deft musical abilities as "The Fox," which shows these guys are pretty much the real deal. A few more like this and they could rank up there with Flight of the Conchords.
But enough of my blathering. Is "The Fox" really the song of the summer like some sites are saying? I don't know if it has the power to dethrone "Get Lucky" or "Blurred Lines," but it's definitely the funniest viral video we're likely to see this year.
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