Good MusicNote 5.13 the fox YLVIS

…I think it says, “Cha-ching!”

single: “The Fox

artist: Ylvis

“The Fox” sounds like what would happen if Bjork sold out and got a lobotomy. It’s a wondrously wide-eyed, full-blown EDM version of the See ‘N Say, except there’s a wildcard animal in the henhouse: “What does the fox say?”

What follows that hook… is hilarity: a wide array of guesses about what noise we could assign to the fox, each more absurd than the one before, all set to propulsive dance breakdown synths.

Ylvis is a Norwegian comedy duo, heretofore unknown to Americans, who were innocently shopping around for a silly song for their TV show. In an absolute coup, they enlisted fellow countrymen, production team Stargate (as in Rihanna, Beyonce, and Ne-Yo–yes, THAT Stargate) to produce the parody ditty.

The result: a comedy record cloaked in such a convincingly deadpan earnestness and pristine production values that it actually is more musically satisfying than the “real” songs it’s parodying. Remember how Weird Al Yankovic’s backing tracks always sounded like a cheap karaoke version of the original? None of that here.

“The Fox” is a testament to a remarkable development in music: the democratization of the pop charts, now that YouTube tallies are included in the Billboard Hot 100.

It’s also a tribute to the power of music. Although the parody here is dead-on, it teeters on the verge of imploding; half of me was doubled over in laughter, yet the other half was becoming quite absorbed in Ylvis’s quest for the fox’s voice, sheerly on the strength of the excellent arrangement.