In a post-billion YouTube view era, measuring the success of a viral song, or video, is cut and dry – if you hit a billion views – that’s currently one-seventh of the population of earth – you have made it. You have “oppa Gangnam Style“-ed the world.
It’s not entirely that easy, though, especially when thinking about the solubility of lyrics. Or as this brilliant piece in the New York Times notes, the diversity of metrics available to study this stuff these days. What good is a billion views if half of those people have no clue what “oppa Gangnam style” even means?
Before we get trapped in the psychology of it all, though, – there are people dedicating their lives to this – let’s take a moment to remember what 2013 has given us the way of lyrical ear worms, that you still may or may not know the meaning of, regardless of views.
There was Kanye West‘s psychotic ego-isms of “I Am a God,” that didn’t even need moving image, in which he becomes an industrial goth-hip-hop monster decreeing his godliness, and speed at which his croissants hit the table: [LISTEN]
And, in quantifiably the most intoxicating pop summer nugget, Robin Thicke‘s “Blurred Lines,” there was a bunch of rhymes from Pharrell and T.I. supporting a bunch of naked girls and the Justin Timberlake of Canada chant absolutely nothing into song: [LISTEN]
All of which are immensely popular and recognizable and repeatable. But none of which hold a candle to these dudes from Norway, Ylvis, that many are calling “Norway’s Lonely Island.” Flight of the Conchords fit just the same. They’re brothers with a TV show to promote and a penchant for animal sounds. We can’t tell you what it all means, the club-bangin’ Calvin Harris-skewering “secret of the fox,” but we can tell you that perhaps one-seventh of the planet will know what the fox says soon enough. Thus we ask you, “What Does the Fox Say?” and is it the most viral lyric of 2013?