We were driving back from Boston about 10 days ago when my sister mentioned that my 18-year-old college student daughter had posted a YouTube video on my 15-year-old high school sophomore son’s Facebook wall.
Surely it was something inappropriate.
That was less than two weeks after Norwegians Bård Ylvisåker and Vegard Ylvisåker, brothers who make up Ylvis, posted the now viral video on YouTube to promote their variety show on TVNorge.
As of this writing, the YouTube video “What Does the Fox Say” has more than 55 million hits. Yes, 55 million hits for one of the strangest, yet most compelling, songs I have ever heard.
And I am completely obsessed with it. My husband came back from running this morning and said he had seen a fox, appropriately on Foxridge Rd. “What did it say?” I had to ask. My son asked the same thing.
And when we had to watch the video yet again after dinner tonight, and I again laughed so hard that my stomach hurt, I had to find out the story behind the video.
It’s pretty much as random as the song.
Billboard.com writer Evie Nagy asked the Ylvis brothers where the idea for the song came from. “I’m trying to remember. The way we work is we just sit and talk about everything and get ideas and take some notes. I guess we must have been talking about what kind of sound the fox makes,” one of the brothers is quoted as saying in her Sept. 7, 2013 article.
According to Billboard, the brothers traded favors with a Stargate, a New York production company with Norwegian ties that has in the past produced material for Beyonce and Rihanna. But they weren’t trying to make a hit song, they were just trying to be their comedian selves. “We thought hey, we have this old idea about the sound that the fox made, because no one really knows,” they told Nagy.
The music is addictively catchy, the furry characters are bizarre, intense, and adorable all at the same time, the lyrics (cow goes “moo,” mouse goes “squeak,” etc.) sound like something you might read to your toddler as a bedtime story, and the video is performed with a deadpan seriousness that keeps your attention because you have to see how it ends, and if the answer is ever revealed.
I think it’s just as funny the 20th time as it was the first time. If you haven’t watched it, do it now!
Of course, just like what happened with the Harlem Shake, there are already covers of the song. Abercrombie & Fitch models show off their 6-pack abs, but it can’t compare to the original version. And I’m not sure what to say about this version by the Ohio University marching band.
Here’s a YouTube video of a real fox, and it does make a sound. It’s just not nearly as much fun as the song.It’s not nearly as cool as “Fraka-kaka-kaka-kaka-kow.”