Every summer, there is one song that's insidious. (How many times did you unconsciously hum along toLMFAO's"Party Rock Anthem" last summer?)
But if this year's seasonal favorite seems particularly inescapable, there's good reason. Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe" not only plays seemingly incessantly, but it's also been covered and parodied dozens of times. Whenever your friend from high school tweets another version of it, the original gets stuck in your head. AGAIN.
The first viral cover featured Justin Bieber and some of his famous friends goofing off and lip-syncing the song, and shortly thereafter (and certainly not coincidentally), Jepsen was signed to his label. Next thing you know, Katy Perry posted a video too. And this might sound crazy, but it just took off from there.
Maybe this exponential multiplying of the song is what inspired Dan Deacon's remix. Deacon, the unofficial standard-bearer of Baltimore's experimental music scene, layered Jepsen's vocals over each other some 147 times for an online remix compilation. Deacon's interpretation starts out innocently, but it slowly descends into madness. It might just be the cure for people who have "Call Me Maybe" stuck in their heads. The "Call Me Maybe" compilation features 43 remixes of the song, including an awesome '90s-sounding version by DJ Colostomy Bagpipes called "Call Me MiDi."
Here's a guide to the most memorable performances of the "Call Me Maybe" oeuvre:
Corgi Rae Jepsen: Taking the Meow Mix jingle to new levels of production value, a group called The Pet Collective created a "Call Me Maybe" video that stars "Corgi Rae Jepsen." Instead of the singer, you hear (in-tune) barks, but the best part is the visuals: Corgi Rae (an actual Corgi) re-enacts Carly Rae's video scene by scene.
Harvard baseball team: Bored on a van trip to a game, the team did a silly lip-sync to the song, complete with one player fast asleep in the back row, oblivious to the dance moves surrounding him. This video inspired its own parody (there's that multiplying again) called "Draft Me Maybe," featuring some major-league first-round-draft choices holding up signs with their key stats and lip-syncing along with lyrics such as, "And all the other teams, they appraise me, so here's my numbers, so draft me maybe." It sounds funnier than it is, mostly because they look beyond embarrassed to be there.
James Franco: As noted, it all started when Justin Bieber (and his little friends Selena Gomez, Ashley Tisdale and Big Time Rush) sang along with the song on video. But the weirdest celebrity tribute has to be Mr. Usually-Above-It-All himself, James Franco. He and a friend recorded themselves lip-syncing, sort of: They don't even seem to know the words, not even the ubiquitous chorus. Maybe it's a statement about the state of society or something.
Man with the Golden Voice: In what Time magazine is calling "the meeting of the memes," editors asked Internet star Ted Williams to give a dramatic reading of the lyrics on video. It's as smooth and yet awkward as you imagine.
Presidential playlist: Someone with way too much free time managed to cut together individual words from President Obama's speeches and interviews to create a video of him "singing" the song. Absurd, hilarious, and slightly Autotuned, it's a must-see. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady also got the same treatment.
Jepsen, Jimmy Fallon and the Roots: It doesn't really qualify as a cover or a parody if Jepsen herself is participating, but this one is still a ton of fun, so we're including it here. Jepsen, Jimmy Fallon and the Roots gather in front of a camera before her appearance on the show and accompany her singing with elementary-school instruments like a triangle, recorder, ukulele, xylophone and more. It's adorable, it's joyful, and like the original version of the song, it's infectious.
Songs of the Summer
Here's the past few years' songs of the summer, according to an analysis of the Billboard Hot 100:
1990: "Vision of Love," Mariah Carey
1991: "(Everything I Do) I Do It for You," Bryan Adams
1992: "Baby Got Back,"Sir Mix-A-Lot
1993: "Can't Help Falling in Love," UB40
1994: "I Swear," All-4-One
1995: "Waterfalls," TLC
1996: "Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix)," Los Del Rio
1997: "I'll Be Missing You," Puff Daddy and Faith Evans feat. 112
1998: "The Boy is Mine," Brandy and Monica
1999: "Genie in a Bottle," Christina Aguilera
2000: "Bent," Matchbox 20
2001: "Let Me Blow Ya Mind," Eve featuring Gwen Stefani
2002: "Hot in Herre," Nelly
2003: "Crazy in Love," Beyonce featuringJay-Z
2004: "Confessions Part II," Usher
2005: "We Belong Together," Mariah Carey
2006: "Promiscuous," Nelly Furtado featuring Timbaland
2007: "Umbrella," Rihanna featuring Jay-Z
2008: "I Kissed a Girl," Katy Perry
2009: "I Gotta Feeling," The Black Eyed Peas
2010: "California Gurls," Katy Perry featuring Snoop Dogg
2011: "Party Rock Anthem," LMFAO feat. Lauren Bennett & GoonRock