Hello and welcome to Radio Rants. What’s on today?
Hey, look, it’s that pop star with the super sugary song that I love, and that pop star with the super sugary hit that I hate. If you’re bitter enough, you could make the argument that Owl City and Carly Rae Jepsen collaborating on a song is an attempt by two overly-twee one-hit-wonders to stay relevant. The timing is rather convenient for both artists: for pop chart fresh face Carly Rae, it’s a song to bolster “Call Me Maybe”, and for Owl City it’s publicity for an upcoming album.
But, in addition to possibly being a marketing ploy, it’s totally believable. Both artists’ hits are innocuous slices of the fluffiest of fluffy pop, and generate either love it or hate it responses. And, since I loved one and hated the other, I wonder how this one’s going to go.
“Good Time” feels slightly more like an Owl Shitty song than a Jepsen tune, although that’s mostly because Adam Young has a more distinct production sound. Musically, the song meets both artists halfway: there’s the forward push and pop sheen of Carly Rae’s music, but enough studio effects and synths that the Owl City element shines through. Using Jepsen’s pop-style as a base, then adorning it with the extra electropop of Owl City works surprisingly well, and plays to the strengths of both.
And to the song’s credit, it’s pretty catchy. The sing-song melody of the chorus and the “whoooooa oh oh oh” hook are the kind of thing you catch yourself singing later in the day, and hating yourself for. The downside to the music is that it’s not as jitteringly happy as “Call Me Maybe”, or as pretty and pleasant as, say, “Fireflies”. For some reason, it reminds me of something like “Moves Like Jagger” or “Part of Me”, where interesting music got sacrificed for a big beat. Eh, it works.
As far as vocals go, both artists get a satisfactory check mark. I’d have to give the edge to Jepsen here, since she sounds like she’s having more fun. Then again, a pop song like this is more her forte than Young. And Young, in the interest of fairness, sounds more confident and sturdier than he used to.
So, what’s that thing that both Carly Rae Jepsen and Owl City have been known to be terrible at? Lyrics!
“Woke up on the right side of the bed” And dragged a comb across your head?
“What’s up with this Prince song inside my head?” Did the Owl City guy just make a Prince reference?
“Slept in all my clothes like I didn’t care/hopped into a cab, take me anywhere” This doesn’t even sound like a real song anymore. A verse like this is something that you hear on Sesame Street.
“Freaked out, dropped my phone in the pool again” Wait, what? The rest of these little incidentals are about good things; dropping a phone in a pool’s kind of a major inconvenience.
“Doesn’t matter where, it’s always a good time/Doesn’t matter when, it’s always a good time” I legitimately wanted this part to go through the entire “who, what, when, where, how, why” roster. Sad.
“Good morning and good night/I’ll wake up at twilight” That line sounds like a throwaway, but seeing how twilight is either dawn to sunrise or sunset to dusk…that’s actually kinda clever.
“We don’t even have to try, it’s always a good time!” Well, I’m glad you’re self-aware enough to know that. This is pretty much the main thought behind the song: “Look at the fun! Ignore that it says/means nothing!”
Another commonality that CRJ and Owl City have is that their one hit wonders were essentially flukes. For all of its popularity now, “Call Me Maybe”‘s spent most of its 10 month life unknown, and “Fireflies” was a complete anomaly when it came out. Neither song was concerned about being a hit, but became one anyway. And now that these two want “Good Time” to be a hit, it sounds like it, and that’s the problem. It sounds almost indistinguishable from the other summery, catchy pop songs that are out there. Of course, watch it stick around, and still be in the Top 20 come late August.