In December of 2006, Nas asked "When was the last time you heard a real anthem?". And this is a good question, although it is perhaps a question that is asked by everybody when they turn thirty or so. Perhaps it is just my own perspective, moving away from a time when emotions could be captured by songs so easily. And perhaps it is the internet and the fact that people don't depend on the radio the same way they used to. For a while, there hasn't been a single omnipresent song that will enable us to "remember that summer" ten or twenty years in the future.
Until recently, when a song by Atlanta rapper and singer Cee Lo Green started making its way around the internet, passed by social networking sites. The song is entitled "Fuck You", which would perhaps be a problem in some places but not on the internet. The song did not reach its popularity due to shock value--- since in the year 2010 "Fuck You" is not exactly that shocking. Other than its barbed chorus, the song in many ways resembles a song from the classic era of Motown or classic era of soul. The song tells a plaintive story of heartbreak caused by a woman who has found a richer man, with the "Fuck You" being directed at both the woman and the man.
The song probably succeeds because it musically and lyrically mixes the mixed-up feelings of someone who has been heartbroken and cheated on. Despite the cursing, the song actually comes across as both sweet and nostalgic, and strangely wholesome. The confused feelings are best summed up with the lines:
While though there is pain in my chest/I still wish you the best/with a "Fuck You"
Although we can only guess whether the song will last past the novelty stage, I actually believe that it might be remembered as somewhat emblematic of our era, whatever that might be.