I’m about to talk some shit on Cee-Lo’s catchy-as-hell tune, Fuck You. Gasp and clutch the pearls, but it’s happening.
For those who have somehow managed to miss this gem, here’s the video:
It’s a damn good song: the kind of jam that warrants impromptu living room dance parties. And when it inevitably gets stuck in your head, you don’t really mind. We can all latch onto the cathartic expletives and get on board with the sentiment of hating bitch ex girlfriends. I mean really, fuck that golddigger.
But even the first time I heard it, I was unsettled. There was the nagging thought in my head that I’m singing along joyfully with a completely fucking asshole.
Cee-Lo Green himself is probably a very nice man (despite the fact he has titled himself The Lady Killer, a fairly douche-y way to present yourself) and is obviously way more talented than I can even hope to be, even in those dreams where I can do backflips and triple spin kicks. [2017 UPDATE: turns out: no, he’s not a nice man]
But this song stinks of the worst relationship behavior of men and encourages us to celebrate being psycho exes.
Take this response song, which although musically inferior, really latches on to the unnoted sociopathy of the original video
See, Cee-Lo’s Fuck You is the anthem of all those self-described “Nice Guys” who pursue women without concern about the mutuality of interest and then get mad when the woman doesn’t respond the way they want. It’s the theme song of the guys who are inattentive, scrub boyfriends but then feel righteous vengeance when the girls move on to someone who treats them better and has their shit together. It’s the hymn of the idiot rom-com character who ignores the sweet, kind, adoring girl right next to him to jealously pine for the more conventionally beautiful, popular chick he doesn’t actually know. It’s the spiteful mantra of that psycho ex of yours that you hate.
Look at the video itself for evidence: Cee-Lo depicts various phases of his life, courting beautiful girls who cruelly dismissed his advances, only to triumph at the end by being wealthy and famous while the “Heartbreakers” are left behind… holding a mop for some reason. None of the girls asked for his attention.
The fact he wants to date them is not reason enough for the girls to give him whatever he wants. Simply because you present someone with a toy truck or a bouquet of flowers does not entitle you to anything.
The story is not one of a hard-working guy who gets fucked over and eventually is vindicated by success. It’s of an insecure kid who wanted things he had not earned, lashed out when they were not immediately handed to him, and who, once he found financial stability, gets to be an insufferable asshole, showing off his money and his newfound ability to pull hot tail but talking shit on those who desire such things.
He became the thing he purported to hate. It’s what happened to Lindsay Lohan’s character in Mean Girls.
So what’s my point? Cause I’m not just here to shit talk on a song you currently love. It’s on my iPod right now. My point is about thinking about the content of the media that we consume. It can be a buzzkill, but it’s important to think consciously about the words we repeat and the concepts we share with others. Dissect the messages you’re getting. Notice the medicine that was snuck into your applesauce.