25 Nov 2020

Top 10 viral videos of the last 10 years

From RNZ Music, 10:00 am on 25 November 2020

From the nostalgic to the down right annoying. We're counting down our favourite viral music hits of the last 10 years.

10. ‘The Fox (What Does the Fox Say?)’ - Ylvis | 2013

Of all Norway’s claims to fame, this is surely the best/worst.

Possibly the most annoying song ever recorded ‘The Fox (What Does the Fox Say?)’, by Norwegian comedy duo Ylvis, was everywhere in 2013. Every club played it, every child sang it, it inspired parodies, and even saw the comedy duo performing at the MAMA’s M-Net Asian Music Awards with Crayon Pop, another viral hit group of the time.

Ylvis unleashed this monstrosity to promote their late-night show I kveld med YLVIS (Tonight with Ylvis). The song peaked at the top of the Norwegian Singles Chart, went to number six on the Billboard Hot 100, and was the top trending Youtube video of 2013. At the time of writing, the song has almost 100 million views.

Perfect for people who think annoying sounds are hilarious.

9. ‘Walmart Yodelling Boy’ - Mason Ramsey | 2018

Although 2018 may feel like 1,000 years ago, it was only two years back that the adorable child star Mason Ramsey took the world by storm with a video of him performing Hank Williams' ‘Lovesick Blues’ in a Walmart. 

Within a few days of the video being uploaded, it garnered almost 25 million views and sparked a viral meme. People loved the way Mason yodelled “DaaaAAaaDdyy,” wearing his cute little bowtie. So much so that he appeared on The Ellen Show, performed at The Grand Ole Opry, released his own music through Big Loud Records, and probably made a boatload of money. 

This entry for #9 is a double whammy because this remix by Prism also went viral. Warning: this totally slaps

8. ‘Friday’ - Rebecca Black | 2011

No Top Viral Hits list would be complete without this one. The internet landscape has changed dramatically since the release of ‘Friday’: when the song came out, Facebook didn’t own Instagram yet and everyone was planking. So this song holds a special place in our hearts, transporting us back to a simpler time. 

Despite almost all the lyrics in this song being meme-able, from, “Gotta have my bowl, gotta have cereal,” to, “Gotta get down to the bus stop, gotta catch my bus,” and of course, “Tomorrow is Saturday, and Sunday comes afterwards,” it was Rebecca's high pitched somewhat nasal voice singing, “Friday, Friday, gotta get down on Friday,” that had us humming the track relentlessly for a year.

The music video suddenly surged in views in 2011 after it featured on the Tosh.0 blog (remember that?!) and comedian Micheal J Nelson called it “the worst video ever made” on Twitter.

‘Friday’ also managed to surpass Justin Beiber’s ‘Baby’ as the most disliked youtube video, amassing 1.17 million dislikes by March of 2011.

'Friday' gets #9 because we think we’ve all come full circle and can admit this song is... Fun. 

7. 'Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen’ - Daimaou Kosaka | 2016

This quirky song by Japanese comedian Daimaou Kosaka took the internet by storm in 2016. He also wins best outfit on this list. 

‘PPAP’ gained notoriety for just being incredibly silly. Its rise began among Japanese students, then in September 2016, Justin Beiber shared it on Twitter. He said it was his “favourite song on the internet”, making it go viral almost immediately.

Various media outlets coined ‘PPAP’ as “the new ‘Gangnam Style’”. We’re not too sure about that claim, but this song is definitely a total banger. Like many viral jams before it, ‘PPAP’ inspired SO MANY PARODIES, and at one point there was even a ‘PPAP’ cafe in Tokyo.

Being a solid guy, Daimaou released a ‘PPAP’ 2020 remix, all about COVID19 and the importance of washing your hands. Not surprisingly it’s a jam. He ends the number by saying, “Pray for people and peace.” Aww, thanks Daimaou.

6. ‘Harlem Shake’ - Baauer | 2013

2020 loves a viral dance craze (‘Savage Love’ anyone?). Let us take you back to granddaddy of online dance crazes, the ‘Harlem Shake’.

Ironically, ‘Harlem Shake’ doesn’t involve anybody doing the actual harlem shake, a hip-hop dance that originated in 1980s Harlem. Instead, participants girate and flail around wildly to a clip of the song ‘Harlem Shake’ by American DJ and producer Baauer.

During the peak of its popularity, thousands of ‘Harlem Shake’ videos were being uploaded to Youtube every single day. The challenge was taken on by everybody from the Norwegian military to an entire stadium of people in Sweden

The viral song/dance found its fame after Youtube celeb Joji uploaded a video of himself doing what would eventually become the ‘Harlem Shake’ meme as “pink guy” from The Filthy Frank Show. The video was titled ‘Filthy Compilation #6 - Smell My Fingers’... 2013 was a different time.

This song makes it to #6 because, although it was pretty cringey, it was the last time the world was truly united. 

5. ‘The Guacamole Song’ - Dr. Jean | 2010/2015

Dr. Jean is an angel who must be protected at all costs. She relatebly breaks into dance when guacamole is mentioned.

Jean Rosenberg Feldman AKA Dr. Jean is a teacher with a passion for children's learning songs, and guacamole.

Although we fondly refer to the song as ‘The Guacamole Song’ it’s actually an excerpt of the full length song titled ‘Dr. Jean’s Banana Dance’ in which she dances about a whole range of fruits and veg including bananas, mangos and corn.

This absolute banger was released in 2010, but didn’t gain popularity until 2015 when it went viral. If this song doesn’t get stuck in your head whenever you have guacamole, call a doctor. 

This hit makes it onto the list because Dr. Jean is awesome and it’s important to get your 5+ a day. 

4. ‘Why You Always Lying?’ - Nicolas Fraser  | 2015

Mmmmmmohmygod this song is iconic. #RIPVINE

This parody of ‘Too Close’ by American R&B group Next popped off in 2015. The comically poor production matched with Nicolas Fraser’s shaky vocals made it an instant hit on Vine and Twitter.

The parody was inspired by American college student Nicholas’ experience with an untrustworthy girl who lied about setting him up with her hot friend. Heart breaking stuff.

With lyrics like, “Why the f**k you lying? Why you always lying? MMMmmmohmygod stop fu****g lying!” the video obviously became a meme.

This genius work of art has reached 26 millions views on Youtube and over 76.1 million views on Vine. Nicolas even performed the song with original Next member RL for MTV2. The set up included a toilet seat on stage so they could recreate the iconic leg-on-a-toilet-seat-outside pose from the video. Incredible.

This jam gets #4 because it's crack-up and we miss Vine.

3. Shia Lebeouf Live - Rob Cantor | 2014

How could a song depicting actor Shia Lebeouf as an “actual cannibal” who hunts for sport not go viral?

Shia LeBeouf was doing some weird stuff in 2014, which we can only assume helped this song go viral. The image of Shia as a terrifying cannibal who lives in the woods and hunts humans for sport wasn’t that far away from the truth.

The song was originally written by comedian Rob Cantor in 2011, and a previous animated version of it was already gathering substantial views in 2012.

But it was the live version which included performances by the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles, The West Los Angeles Children's Choir, a group of very talented dancers, and a cameo from Shia himself, that really caught the world’s attention in 2014.

This song may not have inspired hundreds of parodies, or created a dance craze, but it gets # 3 because it helped solidify Shia’s reputation as kind of a weird guy. Also, think about how much work went into making this! 

2. ‘Baby Shark’ - Pinkfong | 2016

Sorry but we just had to do do do do do it. 

Nobody can escape ‘Baby Shark’. Not even Celine Dion. The children's song starring a family of sharks has been rising in views since it was uploaded in 2016.

The song itself was popular as a campfire song before South Korean education company Pinkfong turned it into a video. The song’s meteoric rise has seen it talked about by literally everyone, and driving parents absolutely insane.

It’s now the most watched video on youtube ever with over 7.2 billion views. Although many say this song is terrible, you have to admit it’s catchy, like really catchy.

‘Baby Shark’ gets #2 on this list because now that it’s here, we don’t think we’ll ever live in a world without it, so we may as well embrace it. 

1. 'Gangnam Style' - PSY | 2012

Of course Gangnam Style is #1!

Let’s go back to 2012, a simpler time. There's no way of knowing what exactly it was about ‘Gangnam Style’ that made it so popular. Was it the dance? Was it the catchy-ness? Was it the inclusion of K-pop superstar Hyuna? Was it the horses?

‘Gangnam Style’ was released in August 2012 by Korean singer/producer Psy. Although somewhat unknown to forigen audiences, Psy had a sizable following in Korea, topping domestic charts many times through his twelve-year music career.

‘Gangnam Style’ was an immediate hit, debuting at number one on South Korea’s national music chart, Goan. The video went viral almost immediately too, with celebrities, TV channels, radio stations and more picking it up.

There was a time in 2012 where one simply couldn’t go anywhere without hearing ‘Gangnam Style’.

The song’s iconic “horse dance” was attempted by pretty much everyone. British PM David Cameron gave it a go, Britney Spears learned the dance on The Ellen Show, Madonna did it for some reason, and who could forget John Key giving the dance his own spin? Imagine the carnage if Tik Tok had been around when this came out. 

‘Gangnam Style’ was a phenomenon, becoming the first video of all time to reach 1 billion views on Youtube, and now sitting at a very impressive 3.8 billion views 8 years later.
This song has to be number one because former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, said it’s “a force for world peace”, and isn’t that what we all want?