Titled “Tricky,” the song reworks Run-DMC’s “It’s Tricky” for the TikTok audience, sampling Millie B’s Blackpool grime classic “M to the B” (a sound that topped the app’s best of 2020 list). Naturally, the Crazy Frog remix mainly relies on the Annoying Thing’s catchphrase: “brring ding ding, baa baa, etc etc.”
For a few months in 2005, you couldn’t go anywhere without running into Crazy Frog. His ridiculous slogan, “Rring ding ding ding baa baa,” which was first offered as a ringtone, entered the national lexicon. The song then went on to become the most popular – and polarizing – single of 2005, accompanied by a CGI video depicting an overtly naked frog on the run in a futuristic cityscape. “The frog is irritating to the point of distraction and back,” BBC News stated. “And yet at the same, it’s strangely compelling.”
The mania lasted for five Top 20 hits before dissipating. The character was so despised that hackers found success with a virus that displayed a picture of him being killed off to users. However, the frog is making a comeback. The once-ubiquitous amphibian will release a new single next month — a mash-up of a classic and a more modern tune, the details of which the frog’s guardians are keeping under wraps except to note that both are popular on TikTok.
“He looks the same, he acts the same, but he’s a fresher frog,” explains Sigfrid Söderberg, CEO of Kaktus Film and Crazy Frog Entertainment. Despite the fact that the character’s gibbered cry was invented by a teenager named Daniel Malmedahl in 1997 and his body was designed by animator Erik Wernquist in 2003, Crazy Frog Entertainment owns the intellectual property and Söderberg and his business partner Andreas Wicklund produce the character’s videos. Söderberg is in charge of the frog’s future.
You might wonder who wants this old irritant back, but the frog fandom lives on. The original hit has almost 3 billion views on YouTube, making it the site’s 26th most-watched video, and the Crazy Frog YouTube channel has 11.5 million subscribers. According to Söderberg, interest peaked a few years ago, with the site receiving 4 million new views per day at one time. Rita Ora sampled the Axel F music in her song Bang Bang earlier this year (though Söderberg is unaware of this). Kaktus concluded that the world was instructing him to bring back the frog.
Sixteen years later, the public outpouring of wrath may have subsided – or, at the very least, the frog may benefit from a social media audience too young to remember his previous appearance. Various TikTokers with millions of followers, notably Kimberly Loaiza (55.2m) and Karla Bustillos (20m), created dances to the music in the spring.
According to Söderberg, Kaktus has learned from its failures and is now more selective in its business relationships. “He didn’t deserve to be a ringtone figure,” says Söderberg. “We want to do it right this time: we want to have funny songs, funny TV series, funny little books; make him have the longevity we wanted last time.”
Whether Crazy Frog’s new song can recreate his mid-2000s success, which saw “Axel F” leap from ringtone gimmick to number one on the UK music charts, is now largely in TikTok’s hands.