Summer Party Anthem “Blurred Lines” Bores

Libby Salemi, Columnist

A couple of months ago, a friend offered me a ride home from work and immediately put on a song she’d been dying to show me. She’s a couple years younger than our coworkers and I, so when she finds something new she usually feels the need to show it off and gather our opinions.

When I listened to the song I felt pretty neutral about it. Sure, it was catchy, a little silly and a pretty typical find from a Top 40 station. Whatever, it was a song. I told her it was fine and moved on with my life.

Next thing I know, this song is blowing up everywhere with my friends. They love it. They want me to love it. I’m forced to listen to it about 50 more times, and sure enough, I’m loving it, too. Wow, could it get any catchier? Man, it sure makes us feel like we’re having a good time. Whatever, we’re all having fun. Everything’s fine and I move on with my life.

The next-next thing I know, I’m back in Oberlin. I’m talking to my friends, saying, “Hey, have you heard this awesomely catchy song that everyone’s talking about? It’s so fun and flirty. You’ll all love it!” I start singing it, and people cringe… this time not just because I’m a terrible singer. “That song? Libby, you like that song? Don’t you understand how misogynistic it is? Don’t you see the sexism? Don’t you see that you should be strongly offended that someone would make a song about objectifying women in such a way?”

At first I don’t, but then 50 more people share their opinions with me, and sure enough I’m seeing the error of my ways. What a gross song. It’s making all my friends uncomfortable. Whatever, I can live without this song in my life. Everything’s fine and I move —

Wait, no I don’t. No, no, no. This is ridiculous. I suddenly realize that my entire view of this song has gone from completely neutral to overly ecstatic to overly sensitive in a matter of mere weeks, and all I want is to go back to completely neutral instead of just relying on my friends’ opinions. Why? Because this song is so unimportant, so bland and so ordinary that I can’t even understand why it matters to anyone, regardless of whether or not it’s politically correct. Why are we even giving it airtime? There is absolutely nothing special about this song. The misogyny isn’t even special.

I’ve heard much more offensive lyrics in plenty of other pop songs that just went completely under the radar. Take Macklemore’s “And We Danced,” a song in which the artist (who, mind you, is currently beloved by many for his “profound” song about marriage equality) sings about whipping out his penis at a party and later about how all the men should grind their junk into the behinds of every woman at said party. Did anyone lose a wink of sleep over this song? Was my Tumblr dashboard filled with complaints and deeply irked posts about how crude this song was?

Nope, none of the above. And I’m glad, because despite how offensive it is, it’s just a crappy song and I don’t think it deserves any attention whatsoever.

This is how I feel about Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines.” This song has stirred up so much controversy among the people who love it and want to defend it and the people who think it’s sexist and should never be played again. Yes, I get it, it’s catchy. Yes, I get it, it’s totally misogynistic and sexist. And what else is it? Not much.

All my friends have spent their time getting nit-picky about a song that is completely mediocre and I just couldn’t care less about it. I’m tired of the debates and the kids who think that it’s the greatest song ever and the kids who think it’s the most offensive in the world. And then I remembered that I can tune out the debates and opinions and listen to myself instead.

From now on, I’m just doing me: continuing to listen to music that is actually good and hoping that everyone will stop telling me how to feel about a song that isn’t all that great anyway.