I remember back in the day a hit song might inspire an answer record, putting the original in conversation with another track that either exposed a different side to the story’s narrative or just commented on the first. The most famous one I recall is Shirley Brown’s melodramatic “Woman to Woman,” which inspired Barbara Mason‘s answer, from the other woman in the triangle, “From His Woman to You.”
Well, Cee Lo’s increasingly popular “Fuck You” has turned into one my favorite records so far this year, as arch and clever (and catchy) as it is, dnagling in that odd space between old-school throwback and novelty song. Perhaps it’s the novelty of it that has inspired its share of answers and covers, including a version by 50 Cent.
Now comes the female answer. Called “Clearly Obsessed” and perfomed by a singer/actress named Whitney Avalon, the record imagines Cee Lo’s original narrator as a stalker who won’t adhere to the restraining order imposed upon him. It’s funny, a little creepy, but quite a successful moment of quick-fast, Internet-ready pop culture…But a question: Has anyone noticed how the original Cee Lo video for “Fuck You” (which you can see here if you haven’t seen it already) is directed squarely and solely at the woman in question, rather than, as in the song’s lyrics, the guy who’s taken her from Cee Lo? Is it my imagination, or is there a bit of a disconnect there? Was this shift made for purely aesthetic reasons? Or is there some deeper question needing to be asked about gender and representation? I’m gonna mull on this and return to the subject at a later date. Stay tuned y’all…
Til then, here’s the “Fuck You” answer record, in all its fantastically vulgar glory!: