Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe" was, by all accounts, a horrible song. At least until The Roots' music stylings and Jimmy Fallon's charisma gave the tweeny single a whole new vibe on late-night TV. If you haven't seen last year's reworked version of "Call Me Maybe" with classroom instruments, it's definitely worth a look.
This weekend, Fallon and The Roots tried to buoy another bad if not buzzworthy single with Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines." Though the song has catapulted to the top of Billboard charts and summer radio, its misogynistic lyrics and over-sexualized music video has raised quite a lot of controversy. But protests aside, "Blurred Lines" is pretty unlistenable. The carnivalesque Pharrell beat and Thicke's garish falsetto get stuck in your head for all the wrong reasons, and an uninspired guest verse from T.I. doesn't do the song any favors either. And seriously, what does rhyme with "hug me?" Fallon and The Legendary Roots Crew had their work cut out for them trying to make this one more palatable.
It's sad enough to see a hip hop crew as revered as the Roots lassoed into this mess. But the final product is pretty ugly (hey, that rhymes with "hug me"). Using the same assortment of classroom instruments, Thicke comes up flat on the late-night remix. Notable instruments used include a kazoo, Questlove's wooden clacker, and Tuba Gooding Jr.'s banana shaker.
The video is only four days old but has already amassed more than 5 million views on YouTube and has almost 50 thousand upvotes to just 1 thousand downvotes. Its only saving grace is Black Thought's original third verse, which features boasts of marriage and giving his love interest a "standing ovation." Nice to see The Roots having some fun and deviating from their often macabre style of hip hop, but damn, Thicke sounds terrible in this.
Remixing a song as innocuous as "Call Me Maybe" was cool, but taking on "Blurred Lines" feels wrong. It's a problem when a talk show host sounds about as good as a pop singer does on the hook. A classroom instrument remix of "Get Lucky," this summer's other big smash hit, would be considerably more enticing.