Working in early child care, I have heard “Baby Shark” a lot. I have opinions on the hundreds of versions that Pinkfong themselves have released — The Halloween version where they cry “Boo!” is excellent, I’m not afraid to say. I’m also not afraid to say that “Baby Shark” alone is an absolute jam. If this came on at the club, no remix, you would definitely catch me dancing unironically. If I ever went to clubs in the first place.
A Special Note Here: I have been informed that “Baby Shark” isn’t entirely original, and in fact there is some controversy over copyright, but as “Baby Shark” is associated with Pinkfong mostly, I will go forward in the copyright-free zone of this story (the Wild Wild West if you will) continuing the association between Pingfong and “Baby Shark”. Also, because I’m not sure how copyright laws for toddler music derived from campfire songs even work.
Apparently parents hate “Baby Shark”. I get it. But I’m here to unfortunately tell you that it gets worse. It gets much worse.
The biggest problem with Pinkfong’s videos is their inability to write lyrics, primarily rhyming lyrics. As they are a South Korean company, I realize there is a language barrier that might create this problem, but I feel like this company could easily use some of their “Baby Shark” money to hire some more adept translators. Maybe cut the money you’re spending on remaking Baby Shark with almost no changes and pay for a new translator who can rhyme basic words.
For a good few hours, I was determined the Halloween “Guess Who” song was Pinkfong’s worst. When it came on, I bristled and scowled. What’s worse? That they rhyme “nails” with “broom”? That they rhyme “eyes” with “body”? That they continue the false news that Frankenstein is the monster? I don’t know, but I knew — I hated “Guess Who”. I was personally affronted by “Guess Who”. It spat on my door and made me clean it off with my toothbrush.
Despite my anger, I was not prepared for the actual worst song: “Halloween Costume Party”. There are two versions, but my complaints remain the same between the two. Go watch it. I have time. Ready? Let’s start.
The song is sub-par. In all the ways I stated before — There’s a part where they just repeat what the costume is for a whole line “pirate pirate pirate” to get to the end of the verse — but also because the song itself is nowhere as a catchy as “Baby Shark”. It doesn’t even make a good invasive species as an ear worm.
But worst of all, in my humble opinion, it makes no sense. Not in that delightful absurdist humor you see in some cartoons, but in the “we spent all of five minutes writing this song”.
So, our host is a supernatural creature, either a skeleton or a vampire. He’s holding a party for his… neighbors? Friends? I’m not sure who he originally invited, but a bunch of kids show up. Which is the first clue that this song is making it up as it goes along. Mr. Host isn’t a child. Why do only children come to his party? He doesn’t seem surprised by this and in the Vampire version, he outright is pushing the children in. Eek.
Then, the first kid brings eyeballs. Why? This is a normal kid, not a real pirate (and even if he was — what’s the lore here? Do pirates like to eat eyeballs? Is it their own? Is that why they have the eyepatch?) because the rest of the video makes it clear he’s imagining his pirate persona. Plus, it’s a COSTUME party. While Mr. Host isn’t in costume, somebody has to be. So, this totally normal eight year old just brought eyeballs to the party and nobody is calling CPS.
“ Oh, but Jaz, maybe they’re fake eyeballs”. A) They look pretty real to me considering the animation. B) Every other child’s food gift is clarified to be “cake” or “candy”. The last kid brings “witches’ brew” but I’m more likely to pass it by since witches’ brew, in name, could be anything — including an alcoholic drink as I am positive I’ve been to a party with witches’ brew, so we might need to have a talk with this child’s guardians. But while the last kid might be a burgeoning alcoholic, pirate boy is definitely on the path to a serial killer. We, as a culture, need to stop letting kids bring eyeballs to parties. They don’t even taste good.
Speaking of that last child — we’ve gotten to my favorite and least favorite part. The first three kids come in fairly predictable costumes: pirate, ballerina, cowboy. But, our last child sees this and he tells himself “I will not be outdone. I will make sure everyone remembers my costume. I will be unique!”. My dude here comes as a refrigerator. I respect and despise this creative choice. The image of his head in the freezer is a bit nightmare-inducing, but what blows that out of the proverbial water is when the time comes for his first solo and he makes THE NOISE. The horrific somewhat mechanical pseudo-refrigerator groan. The noise will haunt me in my nightmares. I have whispered in to the void “why” and the void only answered with this noise. I can only thank God that he doesn’t continue the noise with his big song and dance moment later.
I’m sorry all of the parents haunted by “Baby Shark”. It’s catchy, it comes with its own dance, the video is bright and colorful. Of course, your children will want to watch this day in and day out. Eventually, you will be driven mad by the incessant do-do-do-dooo. But let me assure you, the real hell? The real hell is “Halloween Costume Party”.
All that said, a refrigerator is a killer costume until you have to go down a hill and trip. Ask my brother. He was a Lego once.