“The Fox” Isn’t Even Ylvis’ Best Music Video

Slate's Culture Blog
Sept. 9 2013 5:22 PM

“The Fox” Isn’t Even Ylvis’ Best Music Video

what_does_the_fox_say
"What does the fox say?" is not the only unanswerable question Ylvis has asked in song over the years.

Screenshot from "The Fox"

We were among many millions of people who fell in love with Norwegian parody-pop duo Ylvis last week the moment we heard them ask, in slightly accented English, “What does the fox say?” Their viral music video uncannily reproduces the clichés of today’s pop music, both musically (the broken “oh-oh-oh” à la Kesha) and lyrically (“Your fur is red/ So beautiful/ Like an angel in disguise”).

The satirical precision of “The Fox” isn’t surprising when you consider Ylvis has had years of practice—brothers Bård and Vegard Ylvisåker have been performing together since 2000, and they’ve released a number of other slickly produced music videos over the years. Below, Ylvis’ five other English-language music videos, all of which are worth watching for fans of “The Fox.”

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“Stonehenge”

Though it uses the same formula as “The Fox”—find one of life’s most profound mysteries, and then sing about it with great passion—this 2011 soft-rock power ballad about “the greatest henge of all” is arguably superior to this year’s hit. The song’s narrator has it all—a successful career, a beautiful wife and kids, and “a $1000 haircut”—but one question keeps him up at night. (You can see where this is going.) With its soaring chorus and Vegard’s intense facial expressions, the song lives up to the majesty of its subject matter.

“Work It”

While “The Fox” and “Stonehenge” each take on life’s ancient mysteries, hip-hop spoof “Work It” is all about what happens when lyrics leave no mystery at all.

“Pressure”

Building on a catchy hook and lots of non-sequitur humor, 2012’s “Pressure” is about the one thing that stays the same whether you’re “negotiating peace in the Middle East or if you squeeze on yo’ motherfuckin’ soap machine.” This one is more reminiscent of The Lonely Island than any of Ylvis’ other songs.

“Jan Egeland”

For Americans, the name Jan Egeland may not mean much. But no matter where you’re from, there’s something wonderful about the idea of a small nation making an arena-rock anthem about their pride in a real badass superhero of human rights. Perhaps Egeland, who served as deputy director of Human Rights Watch, said it best: “I think it is hilarious with its crazy text and great tune,” he wrote to NPR.

“Someone Like Me”

With Ylvis’ songs, it’s often best if you don’t know what to expect going in, and that’s perhaps most true of “Someone Like Me.” Suffice to say the song is a perfect sendup of the way a certain musical genre can turn on a dime—from mellow sweetness to insane, bass-dropping intensity.

L.V. Anderson is a Slate assistant editor. She edits Slate's food and drink sections and writes Brow Beat's recipe column, You're Doing It Wrong. Follow her on Twitter.

Forrest Wickman is a Slate staff writer. Email him at Forrest.Wickman@slate.com.