This is a preview of our pop culture newsletter The Daily Beast’s Obsessed, written by senior entertainment reporter Kevin Fallon. To receive the full newsletter in your inbox each week, sign up for it here.
- The surprise bop of 2021.
- The best show on TV right now.
- Barb and Star 4ever.
- One of the best Idol auditions ever.
- Extremely, extremely good news.
Bing bang bong.
Sing sang song.
Ding dang dong.
It is a masterpiece. It is art in its highest form, a lyrical triumph invigorated by a level of musical proficiency hitherto unknown to the human ear. It is also utter nonsense, and it has not been out of my damn head this entire week.
The equivalent of a watch alarm beeping somewhere in your apartment but you can’t find it, it is constant, slightly annoying, but, now, inevitable; it is a part of you. Bing bang bong. Sing sang song. Ding dang dong. This is now the soundtrack to my life. Nay, it is my life.
It is only with a hint of hyperbole that I say “UK, Hun?” the novelty song that debuted last week on RuPaul’s Drag Race U.K., is the best song I’ve heard this year, and that it may also be the death of me.
It’s a bona fide hit, having topped the iTunes download chart across the pond, which is a factoid I love so much. A deranged ditty performed by three gay men dressed as women on a reality competition series outperformed new releases by Dua Lipa, Taylor Swift, and P!nk. This is the future liberals want. Or, at least, deserve.
The whole thing came out of a Eurovision contest-themed challenge on the U.K. offshoot of the Emmy-winning reality series, which premieres new episodes weekly on the WOW Presents Plus streaming service. Dubbed “Ruruvision”—joining “The RuPaullmark Channel” in the pantheon of the show’s greatest pun names—the challenge split the show’s contestants into two teams to mimic the countries that perform in the annual international Eurovision Song Contest.
Camp is an almost defining trait of the Eurovision competition. This is the contest that turned ABBA into global superstars, after all, and has featured past entries with titles like “Boom Boom,” “Ding Dong,” and “Haba Haba.” It’s a natural fit for the Drag Race aesthetic, and the show’s spoof song “UK, Hun?” leaned into the nonsense with gleeful abandon.
The queens on each team wrote and performed their own verses and did their own choreography and costuming—as essential to a Eurovision/Ruruvision performance as anything else. But the chorus was the same for both.
“Bing bang bong / Sing sang song / Ding dang dong / UK, hun?,” over and over… and over… and over. At one point the synthesizers just keep crescendoing key changes as the chorus continues to repeat, a further descent into sonic madness with each escalating refrain.
If you could listen in to the thoughts in my head at every waking moment this last week, you would hear, well, an anxiety spiral about the ways in which the government has failed us and whether it is even possible to recover from the mental-health freefall into darkness that they are directly responsible for. But also “bing bang bong, sing sang song, ding dang dong…” Just constantly.
It is hard to create a song that telegraphs total camp and satire to its audience—if the proper descriptor is cheesy, this song is a Costco-sized crate of spray cheese—while still managing to be a bop. “UK, Hun?” is an absolute earworm. It has claimed squatters’ rights in my brain. Evicting it is too logistically complicated to even attempt, nor, frankly, would I want to. I don’t remember my life before “bing bang bong” dominated every thought, and I’m better for it.
That the song happens to be good? Maybe that actually shouldn’t be a surprise. It’s co-written by Freddy Scott and Leland, the team behind many of Drag Race's parody songs, including last season’s Drag Race UK girl-group spoof song “Break Up (Bye Bye),” which charted at number 35 in Britain and sparked a petition for the group that performed to compete in the real-life Eurovision. Leland has worked with Selena Gomez, Troye Sivan, and Ava Max, and is also behind the hilarious Bieber-skewering songs “My Brother’s Gay” and “Stink” for the Chase Dreams character on Comedy Central’s The Other Two.
In other words: these people have mastered the art of a fake genre-parody song so well it actually transcends parody to become a bop in its own right.
The winning version of “UK, Hun?” was performed by the group that named themselves the United Kingdolls, featuring contestants A'Whora, Bimini Bon Boulash, Lawrence Cheney, and Tayce, and I just like living in a world in which those are the names of artists with a chart-surging hit song.
Because the lyrics are absolutely ridiculous and the song’s chorus cycles through your head like a merry-go-round that will never, ever stop spinning, it has birthed countless memes and social media jokes, which has contributed to its popularity.
But, at the risk of being insufferable, I think there’s a reason that this ludicrous song at this extremely intense moment is becoming so popular.
An important detail is that “UK, Hun?” made its debut in an episode that began with the contestants learning about the severity of the coronavirus pandemic and the global shutdown, reeling as they were immediately all sent home. Then it picks up seven months later, some of the queens leaving their houses for the first time to return to the show.
“UK, Hun?” is a delightful diversion for us to obsess over while we’re all still trapped at home. But, musically, it also very much mimics our own collective, inescapable mania. I’m not saying that’s the point of the song. In fact, the song refreshingly flies in the face of such seriousness.
Over the last year, we’ve parsed every new music release for resonance. What does it mean? What does it say about the times we’re in? How are our traumas informing how we’re interacting with the music?
This, however? This is bing bang bong. It’s sing sang song. It’s ding dang dong. The most philosophical question is its titular one, a casual, tossed-off, “You ok, hun?” Who could really say if they’re OK these days. They’re probably not. I’m definitely not. But why dwell in the mania when you can sing through it? When you can bing bang bong.