“Another one?” I audibly gasp at my phone screen (it is the early hours of the morning on November 24th 2023. I'm at the ‘Pre-Sleep Scroll’ stage of my bedtime routine). This was not me bursting into a DJ Khaled impression, but my knee-jerk response to the new Crazy Frog track, ‘Funny Song’.
For those who are blissfully unaware, ‘Funny Song’ serves as another bizarre attempt to market Crazy Frog to Generation Alpha, and is the third in a string of releases from the CGI amphibian that sample songs that have seen their viral moments on TikTok over the last three years.
What frustrates me about Crazy Frog’s trio of comeback releases is not actually their attempt to appeal to a younger generation, but how each one is consistently embarrassingly late to a trend. In 2023, I wrote a dissertation on the ‘marketability of memes’ and “critically analysed” (roasted) ‘Tricky’ (the first comeback single) for this, as it sampled the same track as the ‘M to the B’ TikTok trend over a year after the ‘M to B’ trend died down. This wouldn’t have caught my attention had there not been a quote stating the ‘importance of TikTok’ used in the single’s announcement, highlighting TikTok as the core reasoning behind the single and its campaign!
Wolfgang Boss, president of A&R at Sony Music, said, “When we started Crazy Frog, there was no TikTok, it didn’t exist. But right now TikTok is super important. It’s basically the number one platform for people to share new music and funny things connected with music.” [taken from the article below]
It just seems utterly bonkers that a campaign could be so trend-focused, yet get the timing so incredibly wrong - if you’re going to chase after a trend that late, you might as well not chase after it at all!
It continues to genuinely baffle me how so much money is being continually pumped into singles that are destined to underperform when compared to the tracks and trends they are striving to be a part of! To me, it is blindingly obvious that if the team behind Crazy Frog are looking for a Viral Moment they are never going to achieve it by attempting to reignite a trend a year after its passing, but by doing something more extreme or out of pocket* - they evidently have the budget to!
*(I propose Evanescence interpolation ‘Ding Me To Life’)
For sure, Crazy Frog has always been a character that is catered to children (at the end of the day, it’s a singing animated frog, he’s not going to have the same demographic as Cliff Richard, although I’m sure there’s room for crossover). With this in mind, it is no surprise that TikTok trends are at the forefront of Crazy Frog’s current brand. However, there was something so genius and charming about the launch of ‘Axel F’, and how it captured the world, that I fear these newer, trend-chasing singles are the downfall of Crazy Frog, as they diminish his character to being more of a rogue extra from Cocomelon instead of the cultural phenomenon he was once hailed to be.
So why am I writing this? In all honesty, I have no idea why ‘Funny Song’ unleashed this much outrage in my brain. Maybe it summarises my distress at a TikTok-centric music industry in how a seemingly excessive amount of money is being thrown at half-arsed attempts to chase trends (and animating a frog??) instead of funding other artists or work of more emotional value.
Or maybe I’m a bitter 20-something using a CGI amphibian as the embodiment of all my worldly frustrations.