So, Radio Rant time, cool. Let’s see…not much has changed in the Top 10, I see. T.Swift has another single I’ll get to eventually, “Dynamite” is still hanging on somehow, “Like a G6” is still somehow number two…screw this, time for the Top 20.
Cee-Lo’s had a fairly prolific carrier here and there, and hit it big in the past decade by forming Gnarls Barkley with Danger Mouse, whose hit “Crazy” was one of the first big singles of the 00s. He’s also been a member of Goodie Mob, and tried his hand at a solo career every few years with limited success. Then came “Fuck You”, which went viral in a week back in August, and is now working its way up the charts.
And boy am I excited to hear that. Looking at just the music, “Fuck You” sounds like it was taken straight from the Motown scene of the 60s. The instrumentation is tight, the arrangement fits nearly perfectly (soulful piano leads flirt with bouncing basslines and funky guitar lines), and the production is great. This is probably one of the best crafted pop songs of the year, and I’m not just saying that because it’s nearly synthless.
But the real reason that “Fuck You” works so well is Cee Lo, pure and simple. His lyrics gracefully move from bitter (“I see you walking around town with the girl I love/And I’m like fuck you and fuck her too”) to hilarious (“I guess he’s an Xbox/And I’m more an Atari”) while being supported by a killer melody with the best use of backup singers that I’ve heard in awhile. And his vocals here are really just top notch; he can go from soulful smooth to neurotic and out of control (check the bridge) while still keeping everything under control.
The only possible detractor I can see is the profanity. I mean, in a song called “Fuck You”, the word “fuck” comes 16 times. There’s 16 “fucks” here. As well as a dozen or so shits, ain’t that some shit? And there’s a kinda hidden “nigga” in the verses. But most of these get bleeped out anytime you hear the song anywhere that isn’t YouTube. And honestly? This is one of those cases where copious profanity isn’t really a detractor. It flows seamlessly into the song the way a disenfranchised 40 year old puts them into conversation, not like a 14 year old found out how to swear for the first time.
So who gives a fuck if it’s dirty? It’s a great song.