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Soundtrack: (Expletive Deleted)

Posted by Ben Collins, Today's Soundtrack  August 22, 2010 03:41 PM

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Does it count as the song of the summer if we canít even print what itís called?

Cee-Lo Green, the lead singer of Gnarls Barkley, released a soul-pop ballad on Youtube yesterday that you both canít stop singing and, also, canít sing in public. Anywhere. Therein lies the problem.

So how is this trusty olí newspaper website going to present this information to you?

Well, the walker-wielders at the Wall Street Journal have given it a shot.

ďThereís no way around the vulgar phrase. Though itís possible it could be bleeped or edited out, everyone who hears the song will fill in the blank as Cee-Lo curses out a girl who left him for a richer man.Ē

Itís called ďF--- You.Ē There, we said it. And we had to. Because itís very, very good.

So good, in fact, that itís going to make for a very well-paid producer at the Grammyís, someone who will have his or her hand trained on the bleep button all night like a really vulgar game of Bop It. Because itís going to win a Grammy or two.


(Today's Soundtrack: Cee-Lo Green - F--- You)

Sure, part of the appeal here is that the song is called ďF--- You,Ē anyway. But most of the appeal is the hook. No song with that many ďoohsĒ in the chorus can possibly be bad.

Plus, the public outcry this will spark if itís played on the radio with any regularity will be mostly ironic. The knock on modern R&B is that itís usually grossly, explicitly sexual, sometimes misogynistic and generally reliant on the give-and-take nature of the sexual power dynamic.

Not so for ďFí You.Ē Its lyrics are those eminently relatable, rush-to-judgment observations of the freshly dumped. If anything, itís crazily advanced, promoting relationships that have nothing to do with money (ďI guess the change in my pocket wasnít enough,Ē Green croons) -- ones that are based on the absence of power rather than the constant drive for the accrual of it. Just because itís called ďF--- YouĒ doesnít mean Cee-Lo wants you to actually take his advice.

Wait, what am I doing? Just listen to this thing. Itíll never leave your head. Itís the happiest three minutes and 45 seconds of getting cussed out that youíll ever experience.

The only question that remains is this: Does it still count as the song of the summer if it comes out on August 20th?

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About the author

Ben Collins can't help but search beyond Feist for the zeitgeist of Today's Soundtrack, his pick of a song or songs capturing the mood or events of the moment. His musical tastes vary from Strawberry Fields to The Magnetic Fields, from Low to Skee-Lo. A North Shore native, Ben has worked at The Boston Globe and Spin and is an Emerson grad. Make your own nominations to him at ben.t.collins@comcast.net or on Twitter @globesoundtrack. More »

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