By Duane Doobie
SPRINGFIELD, MA — I would like to think that the readers of this column are some of the most plugged in / tuned in / pop cultural junkies in radio today. However, this weekend marked the beginning of something even bigger than rock n’ roll (he says sarcastically) – football season! — and perhaps some of you were distracted by the abundance of beer, chips, dip, and multiple channel coverage.
So let’s take a peek at something really interesting that you do not want to slip by without at least considering. Last week, the Norwegian music/comedy group Ylvis (similar to US-based music comedy group Lonely Island led by Andy Sandberg) released what they thought was going to be just another promo for their show’s upcoming season on TV Norge. What they delivered is being heralded as “The Song of the Summer” which is no easy feat since it came out after the unofficial end to the season.
I have long been talking about the importance of CHR programmers to pay attention to both the worlds of electronic dance music (EDM) and the internet for programming cues. This song, “The Fox,” is ultimately a creative combination derived from both and is gaining popularity exponentially with each passing second. At press time, the song has eclipsed 11.2 million views on YouTube. I predict it will hit over 100,000,000 views by the end of the day on Wednesday.
There are more than a couple of positive indicators that this will become a pop culture smash and radio can get on the bandwagon early and often, as while the video is an important component to the phenomenon, the core really is the song. Check it out and at least be aware of it. If you choose to play it or even talk about it, keep in mind time is always of the essence with these kinds of things.
Novelty songs have long played an important role in the way pop culture is massaged on the radio and that occasional novelty song that comes down the pike can really spice things up – especially if grabbed and exploited early in its life cycle.
Here are some thoughts about these pop culture Roman candles:
For a song to become a pop cultural phenomenon, it needs to have a clearly understandable, repeatable chorus. I can’t tell you the words to “The Macarena” by Los Del Rio from A Mi Me Gusta (RCA), “Who Let the Dogs Out” by Baha Men (Edel), or “Gangnam Style” by Psy (Universal Republic) — but the choruses for these songs are easy to say/sing and are often repeatable. Three to five syllables also seems to be important: “What Does the Fox Say?”
The subject must be universal. The question as to what sound a fox makes may not be the most burning issue, it is not something that most people seem to know the answer to. Looking backwards, “Gangnam Style” refers to the look associated with living in a particular section of South Korea. Unless you have been there – you aren’t going to know the specifics. However, the universality behind geography as a stylistic status is nothing new. Beverly Hills, Manhattan, Maui…
The chorus invites listeners to sing along regardless of their singing abilities or understanding of the song’s language. Referring back to #1, “Who Let The Dogs Out” followed by a series of woofing as an invitation to all singing abilities to join in the fun. It doesn’t matter what you sing or if you sing the Korean lyrics. Just make sure you hit the crescendo with the “Gangnam Style.” The same applies to this song by Ylvis on a level previously unaccomplished. The song features at least five different areas in which the listener can improvise their own fox sound. The song itself gives quite a few examples of potential possibilities — but your listeners can be even more creative, I am sure.
The song became available on iTunes today.
Okay, now let’s talk about regular music…
The latest (eighth) single from K-Pop stars Girls’ Generation was released this week. “Galaxy Supernova” (S.M. Entertainment) is upbeat, catchy, and features extra focus on member Sooyoung. Their last song, “I Got a Boy” was also a RadioInfo Pop Music Chart red zone feature when it came out earlier this year.
“Locked in a Cage” by Brick + Mortar Bangs (Photo Finish). Toms River New Jersey natives, Brandon Asraf and John Tacon, better known as Brick + Mortar, caught my attention with their incredibly catchy single “Locked in a Cage” (Photo Finish). It’s meticulously produced with driving bass and structured lyrics. It effectively mixes electronic sampling with pop sensibilities. Asraf and Tacon began playing music together when they were in middle school, initially beginning as a drum and bass improvisational duo. With the promising rise of the Asbury Park musical scene, the duo began performing regularly up and down the New Jersey coast and built themselves a reputation as one of the stronger live acts to come out of the state. They have most recently opened for Jimmy Eat World, and were featured at the 2012 SXSW conference.
“Sweet Remain” by Vista Chino Peace (Napalm) Vista Chino is the creation of Brant Bjork and John Garcia after a soul sucking legal battle regarding their usage of their former band name Kyuss. Kyuss pretty much originated the stoner/desert genre within rock, and spawned the likes of Queens of the Stone Age, Mondo Generator, Unida, Slo Burn amongst many others.
Take Bjork’s crafty work with the sticks, Bruno Fevery’s straight forward power guitar, and Nick Oliveri’s crunching bass, combined with a swing vibe, and you got their single “Sweet Remain.” I saw it written that this song allows for “maximum head-bopping” and after a few listens, I am going to have to agree.
“Cut Me Some Slack” by Chris Janson Chris Janson (Bigger Picture Group) This is a fun, upbeat tune that a lot of male listeners can relate to. Chris Janson, sings it on the title track of his eponymous EP with his rich sounding country crooner voice that brings his high-energy performance, whether on a track or in person. This is the follow up to Janson’s infectious top 40 hit “Better I Don’t.” Janson’s self-titled EP was produced by Keith Stegall and will be released on Bigger Picture Group. Janson has been creating quite a buzz in Nashville with his red-hot career, including his songwriting. In addition to writing his own material, Janson’s songwriting credits also include co-writing Tim McGraw‘s fastest rising single of his career, “Truck Yeah” Two Lanes of Freedom (Big Machine) as well as the title track for Justin Moore‘s forthcoming new album, Off the Beaten Path. (Valory Music Group) Janson played harmonica on Lee Brice’s Hard 2 Love (Curb).
Duane Doobie is music editor of RadioInfo and reflects the composite musical opinions of the RadioInfo editorial staff. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Category: Duane Doobie