Listen, I know the new Taylor Swift song — “You Need to Calm Down” — has all sorts of refreshing political relevance and people are really into it and the internet is freaking out. It’s pretty catchy, I admit, but I think I’m going to go out a limb here and say Peppa Pig’s debut single — “Bing Bong Zoo” — from her forthcoming album, My First Album! is a better piece of pop art, and serious fans of pop music are overlooking this single at their own peril.
Here’s the thing about “Bing Bong Zoo.” It doesn’t give a shit. You remember when you first heard Tay-Tay’s “Shake It Off,” in 2014 and you were like, “Oh that’s interesting, Taylor Swift is rejecting her country roots and embracing pure pop.” Peppa Pig is doing pretty much the same thing but in reverse. Instead of trying to find a broader audience or departing from her genre, Peps is pretty much saying that this single and this record is for her fans. I’m not saying “Bing Bong Zoo” is the pinnacle of Peppa Pig’s musicianship, but it is an exercise in celebrity as art.
Peppa even has some of her young fans in the video, singing “Bing-bong bingly bungy boo,” as they just soak-up the unapologetic bourque-pop sensibility of the production value. It’s edgy insofar as it’s not edgy at all, which in a 2019 climate of contrivance makes Peppa Pig come across as raw.
The most interesting thing about the song though, is that the lyrics are ultimately not about Peppa, but about another person, a person the song is clearly for, but not sung by. Like Taylor Swift, Peppa has a specific listener in mind, and it’s not clear if that listener is a fan of Peppa at all; and, Peppa clearly doesn’t care about that fact. The chorus “Bing-Bong-Boo, I’m a crocodile at the zoo,” reveals this subversion. The song is sung “by” a crocodile, but also by Peppa, and also by, us.
Peppa is a pig, and her first album is, in theory, a statement about her work; her musical identity. And yet, by making the first single about a crocodile, she’s already subverting expectations.
But, the thing is, this song and album isn’t for us. It’s for the fans, people who get this kind of subversion and expect it from Peppa. (After all, they’ve heard this one before. Shockingly, “Bing Bong Zoo” is a remix. GENUIS.)
If you have some of those fans at home — they’re probably ready for their nap around now — tell them you can pre-order Peppa’s album right now. And when you do, prepare to have your perspective on pop music be forever altered, while also, learning a thing or two about what a pig knows about a crocodile’s day-to-day at the zoo.
Peppa Pig’s My First Album is out everywhere on June 19. Pre-order it here.