While today’s music industry is gaga for empowered women, that’s not all that has driven “Call Me Maybe” to the top of the charts.
Carly Rae Jepsen’s single is the latest, greatest Canadian girl-pop moment since Robin “Sparkles” Scherbatsky dropped “Let’s Go To The Mall” — and we just can’t stop singing it.
That girl humming it during the Oceanography midterm? Hayley.
This spring break anthem, ever-present at St. Patrick’s Day-day parties, is the spurt of sunshine that has brought Penn out of hibernation.
The song’s sudden apparition, however, wasn’t so sudden. Let’s trace this song’s path from Canadian obscurity to Locust Walk ubiquity.
Sept. 4, 2007: Carly Rae Jepsen placed third on the fifth season of Canadian Idol.
Sept. 17, 2011: After her unremarkable first album in 2008, Jepsen’s catchy single “Call Me Maybe” was released and gradually gained a following in Canada.
Dec. 30, 2011: Canadian crooner Justin Bieber tweeted, “Call me maybe by Carly Rae Jepsen is possibly the catchiest song I’ve ever heard lol”
AND EVERYTHING CHANGED.
The Beliebers aggressively rallied behind Jepsen and catapulted “Call Me Maybe” to the top of the Canadian charts by early February. Meanwhile, on Feb. 18, Disney Channel kid Carlos Pena Jr. released a YouTube video with his famous buds, including Ashley Tisdale, Selena Gomez — and you guessed it, JBiebs, clowning around to their favorite new song.
The song had infiltrated American mainstream radio by March 6 — exactly two weeks ago.
The video has now grossed over 24 million views. The song itself was ranked No. 24 on Billboard’s “Hot 100” and is currently the No. 8 most downloaded song. Though we’re no statisticians, in looking at last week’s data we project that “Call Me Maybe” may just keep climbing.
To top it all off, Jepsen’s now signed with Bieber’s manager, Scooter Braun.
Case in point: if you want to do anything in the music business, start filing for Canadian citizenship and make nice with Bieber.
Real case in point: today, just one celebrity tweet holds the power to pioneer and propel a cultural phenomenon.
Now that we understand how it landed in our backyards, we’re curious as to why “Call Me Maybe,” in all its prudish innocence, has found a home at parties that foster the kind of raunchy dancing we ridiculed in our debut column. From Enrique Iglesias’ “Tonight I’m (Lovin?) You” to pretty much anything Rihanna whips out post-“Chris Brown incident,” we’re used to stuff that more explicitly promotes sex — rather than the suggestion of a little bit of leg beneath the tears on ripped jeans (we’re really sweating). With both universal lyrics and a beat that invites everyone to sing and jam — and not grind — in communal euphoria, this song appeals to guys and girls alike.
However, the joyous song-gone-viral phenomenon, as evidenced by Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the USA,” is no novelty.
College junior and Off the Beat Musical Director Leo Wolansky helped us to decode exactly what makes a catchy song “catchy as hell.” Pop artists try to make the chorus “as simple and memorable as possible” because they’re striving for an “earworm” or a tune that gets stuck in our heads, he explained.
Jepsen : 1, Brooks/Kokot : 0.
Every melody in “Call Me Maybe” resolves to “a G note, which is the tonic,” Wolansky added, and that’s exactly “what your ear wants to hear.”
So whether this tune makes you “want to punch someone in the face,” as College sophomore Sierra Parker put it, or throw your hands up (they’re playin’ your song!) in sheer reverie, it’s safe to say that it’s caught your attention. Jepsen’s hit, with admittedly vapid lyrics, is as music blog MuuMuse puts it, “irresponsibly addictive.”
We doubt that Jepsen will be the next Adele. We doubt that “Call Me Maybe” will be remembered as the song of our generation. What we do know, however, is that it will mark a moment. For us, it’s a snapshot of us dancing in our St. Patty’s green before a throng of bewildered teenage tour-goers. What was it for you?
We’ll look back on this song with a slight eye-roll and a smile, a self-deprecating nod that our taste was not more high-brow, and ultimately concede that it evokes the good times. The best of times.
Hayley Brooks and Ali Kokot are College sophomores from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. and New York, N.Y., respectively. Their email addresses are email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. Think Twice appears every Tuesday.
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