My Complicated Relationship with ‘Blurred Lines’
In order for any song to be the “Song of the Summer” it has to be a few things. First, it has to be catchy. Second, it has to be irreverent and a bit self-aware. Third, it should be able to be played in the car at full blast.
Last year’s song of the summer was undoubtedly “Call Me Maybe”. There is no arguing there. That song permeated damn near everything in the summer of 2012 and it was catchy as hell. I would argue it’s probably the best pop song written in the past decade. To sum it up check this out.
Now ‘Blurred Lines’, this song is what I call strutting music. Walking in New York is a pretty wild experience. What you see on the streets, you’ll pretty much never see anywhere else. Depending on where you walk, you can see the highs and lows of fashion, the most talented homeless people ever, and honestly, some of the most beautiful women I’ve ever seen. If you throw on a pair of headphones and walk with ‘Blurred Lines’ playing as you’re walking, you definitely get a different sense of atmosphere and swagger (even though I hate that word).
I love this song, but the problem is, the lyrics are kinda rape-y. And by kind of, I mean really. Really really rape-y. For example:
“And that’s why I’m gon’ take a good girl
I know you want it
I know you want it
I know you want it”
“Yeah, had a bitch, but she ain’t bad as you
So hit me up when you passing through
I’ll give you something big enough to tear your ass in two”
“But you’re a good girl
The way you grab me
Must wanna get nasty
Go ahead, get at me”
So, that’s the first awkward part of loving this song. The second part? The music video. I’ll link it here, but I will warn you, THE VIDEO IS EXTREMELY NSFW.
AGAIN, SUPER NSFW. I warned you.
It’s basically classy softcore porn.
Three guys dressed up to the nines with three topless women strutting around them. Yeah, a bit uncomfortable for the modern conscientious man. However, reading an interview over on Grantland with the video’s director revealed this little fun tidbit:
“I wanted to deal with the misogynist, funny lyrics in a way where the girls were going to overpower the men. Look at Emily Ratajkowski’s performance; it’s very, very funny and subtly ridiculing. That’s what is fresh to me. It also forces the men to feel playful and not at all like predators. I directed the girls to look into the camera, this is very intentional and they do it most of the time; they are in the power position. I don’t think the video is sexist. The lyrics are ridiculous, the guys are silly as fuck. That said, I respect women who are watching out for negative images in pop culture and who find the nudity offensive, but I find [the video] meta and playful.”
Watch the video again with that quote in mind. Changes the way the video feels doesn’t it? It’s a real subtle shift, but it changes the entire mood of the video, like you’re in on an inside joke, and the guys aren’t even aware of it. Gives you a bit of a perspective on how women feel when they’re being cat-called. Having a bunch of clowns compete for their attention all the time.
So, final verdict? Misogynistic anthem or subverted feminist jab?
No clue, probably a bit of both, but dammit, I still love this song.