Last Thursday, Cee-Lo Green (one half of Gnarls Barkley) debuted “F**k You” from his upcoming album, The Lady Killer (out this October). The vid has since racked up over 2.5 million views, and even 50 Cent has taken notice. Just four days after “F**k You” went viral, the rapper released a 30-second freestyle rap for the song, and Cee-Lo has chimed in with approval. So what is it about “F**k You” that has attracted so much attention? (Watch the vid below, but you may have to sign in to YouTube to view.)
Despite no TV or radio promotion, “F**k You” has become a hit song. There are a lot of elements that make it irresistible, from the simple piano-driven bass line to Cee-lo’s soulful “ooh’s.” The use of profanity might initially be dismissed as a mere attention grabber, but I argue that it’s much more than that. Personally, I can’t recall a song that uses “fuck you” in such a joyful way. Regardless of the fact that it’s a jab at a past lover, I am tempted to sing it out with Cee-Lo-inspired enthusiasm: “Fuck you! Fuck you!” Sorrowful or angry lyrics paired with upbeat instrumentation is nothing new in music (ahem, see the blues), but there’s something special going on in this case and I think it’s more than the novelty of profanity.
Max Read at Gawker says “F**k You” should NOT be the song of the summer. Fair enough, Mr. Read. After all, it’s the end of August and it’s hardly fair to hand that title over to such a latecomer. His argument, however, goes further and attacks the very strengths of “F**k You.”
“It’s easy; it’s peppy; it’s toe-tapping; it features a singalong, slightly naughty chorus. This song is, essentially, written to soundtrack a Shrek trailer. And the question is: Do you want to be responsible for that, internet? Do you really want to make viral a song so corny, so obvious, so desperate to be liked..?”
My answer is “yes.” I take full responsibility and surrender to “F**k You,” because there is no reason to resist something peppy and toe-tapping just for the sake of resisting. Who’s with me? Let know your thoughts in the comments section.