Hello, and welcome to Radio Rants! Today, we’re looking at a song by a Zooey Deschanel lookalike.
No, not that one. This one.
Yeah, there we go. Carly Rae Jepsen. Before appearing out of nowhere in America, it turns out that Jepsen took a generous 3rd place on a season of Canadian Idol. After releasing what (based on one of the singles) seems to be an ok pop album, she rode that album’s singles into semi-obscurity the way that most Idol 3rd-placers do. But then she released “Call Me Maybe” from her new EP Curiosity, and now she’s found a place on the American charts. And it turns out that the reason “Call Me Maybe” is getting so much attention is that it was noticed by Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber. I can’t think of a less-enticing promo.
Anyway, the song starts with some canned plucked strings and a drum before Jepsen starts singing. The song’s basic instrumentation is pretty much a pop rock set, but the production’s extra shiny, and the disco strings on the chorus make a little extra dancey. In fact, the burst-fire strings/guitar riff in the chorus just makes things that much more catchy. Add in that the beat never really gives up, and it’s tough to stay still during “Call Me Maybe”.
While we’re at it, “Call me, maybe” is one of the clumsiest title I’ve heard in awhile. I know that this threatens to drift into Grammar Nazi levels of nitpicking, but anytime I see the song’s title as-is, I want to call Carly Rae Jepsen “Maybe”. Hell, maybe she’s trying to make a nickname, since I still can’t call her
maybe name to mind without help. I know it’s supposed to mean “Call me, maybe?” like “Maybe you’ll call?” but something about it just doesn’t take.
Then again, most of these lyrics don’t. “I threw a wish in the well” What, does Canada have a coin called a “wish”? “Don’t ask me, I’ll never tell” Funny, I think the military got rid of that one. “I looked to you as it fell/And now you’re in my way” What it, what are you talking about? Honest question: is English her first language?
“I trade my soul for a wish/pennies and dimes for a kiss” Nope, I guess Canada does call them pennies…
“Your stare was holdin’/ripped jeans, skin was showing” Would you like some silly dreams with those ripped up jeans?
“I beg, borrow, and steal/at first sight, and it’s real” What “it”? You can’t just throw phrases in without explaining what they relate to. Again: Is she French Canadian?
I could riff on every line of the first and second verses, but you get the idea. Then we have the chorus: “Hey, I just met you/And this is crazy/But here’s my number/So call me, maybe?” I…hm, that’s actually not terrible. What else is in the chorus? “And all the other boys/Try to chase me/But here’s my number/So call me, maybe?” Ok, fine, credit where it’s due: the chorus lyrics do a great job at describing that feeling of when you find a crush; this is the person you want, no matter who else comes knocking.
So with occasionally insightful but really dumb lyrics, hyper-glossy production, a dopey-dumb title, and being almost too bubblegum pop to exist, I fully expected to hate this one.
I can’t get “Call Me Maybe” out of my head. On most objective levels (and some subjective ones), it’s a crummy song, but it won me over. In addition to being catchy beyond belief, it’s also…how do I put this…too nice to hate. It’s like trying to yell at a little kid for being too wide-eyed and happy, part of you just can’t go through with it. Honestly, the best way to avoid getting caught by “Call Me Maybe”‘s addictive hook is to just avoid the song altogether. It’s a tooth and brain-rottingly sugary song with tons of lyrical fumbles and a puddle-deep meaning, but Jepsen sounds like she’s having fun, and is a solid singer to boot. Is it souless? Probably, but “Call Me Maybe” is too infectious and fun to take down. And considering how it’s been moving up the charts, I’m not the only one that thinks so.
Speaking of charts, this week’s Top 10 has to be the most interesting one I’ve seen since I started Radio Rants (when it looked like this). I’m not going to say that club pop’s dead or anything, but the stranglehold it had on the charts is letting up (as is that of Adele, who is consciously absent from this week’s Top 10). But with as much bubblegum pop as club pop at the top of the charts, not to mention bizarre indie success stories fun. and Gotye, a new sound is taking over.
I need to go listen to some music you’ve never heard of to make myself feel better, yeesh.
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OMG SO TRUE