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Massachusetts, a stirring ode to the 14th biggest state in the USA, debuted on Season 3, Episode 13 of I Kveld Med Ylvis.

Massachusetts: The Song

Massachusetts is the first Ylvis song to feature their I Kveld Med Ylvis co-host Calle Hellevang-Larsen. Bård, Vegard and Calle share lead vocals on the verses and are backed up by a gospel choir on the choruses.

Musically this is one of Ylvis' most complex songs. It starts as a uplifting ballad, makes a short detour into African rhythms for a throwaway verse about Nelson Mandela (who never had a home in Massachusetts, BTW), then a spoken-word bridge in the middle featuring semi-literate cheerleaders who get lectured by Calle, a funky call-and-response with the gospel choir and a rousing finish.

Lyrically the song starts as a romantic tribute to the state of Massachusetts, then takes a turn into the absurd with subtle references to male homosexuality that become overt by the song's end. This could be a reference to the state's progressive reputation, which has made it a popular holiday destination for LBTGQ travellers.

American Reaction

Massachusetts was released during October 2013, while The Fox was still blowing up the Internet and getting Ylvis a lot of publicity in the USA. Reaction to the song was mixed. A lot of people didn't get the joke, and were puzzled and/or offended by the nonsensical elements and homoerotic subtext of the song.

Massachusetts: The Video

Ylvis - Massachusetts Official music video HD (Explicit Lyrics)

Ylvis - Massachusetts Official music video HD (Explicit Lyrics)

The video begins like an expensive travel ad, with Bård, Vegard and Calle planning their big trip and holding hands while they wait for departure. Once they're in Massachusetts they "go native", wearing all-American plaid shirts, jeans and sneakers as they visit small towns and try specialties like the local Brie. As the song goes on we learn that they are staying in a large house with a lot of other men and Vegard takes a road trip that's fraught with tension ("we're nothing more than friends...just good friends")

They have an encounter with cheerleaders who don't know how to spell, make some confessions to each other (Vegard enjoys the nightlife, Calle says kissing a man doesn't make you gay and Bård cries when Mufasa dies in the Lion King). Vegard sings about cruising for men on the bus, and the video ends with a triumphant MASS-A-CHU-SETTS with the gospel choir on full blast.

Fan Analysis