Most of us have that one song that sends us over the edge. This is the story of one of those songs. Welcome to Noise Complaints.
LMFAO – Sexy and I Know It
For six years I worked at an educational non-profit, and every year we would hold a few retreats for teachers to spend several days in Long Beach, CA and learn techniques to take back to their classrooms. For the staff, it was a grueling five days of little sleep, constant standing, and incessant repetition of our boss’ deplorable taste in music. Day in and day out we were subjected to aggressively familiar 90’s R&B tracks in addition to my biggest noise complaint of all time, LMFAO’s “Sexy and I Know It.”
The group’s name alone infuriates me for its unapologetic bro-ness. Then there is the fact that the duo, Redfoo and Skyblue, are uncle and nephew respectively. On top of that, they are the son and grandson of legendary Motown founder Berry Gordy Jr. Though the term “nepotism” has been around much longer than LMFAO, I have come to believe that the negative connotations thereof stem directly from this opportune lineage. This duo, so well-positioned to enter the music industry, squandered their connections to create the most horrific of overproduced pop filth. “Sexy and I Know It” is the Donald Trump of songs. It is the brash and offensive product of rich parents, and it’s what society gets for letting our standards dip so dangerously low.
For these yearly retreats, the Foundation would rent out an old single screen theater on Long Beach’s 4th Street, also known as Retro Row. Retro Row is filled with vintage shops, trendy restaurants, coffee shops, and dimly lit wine bars. I was tasked with scheduling “Sexy and I Know It” to play every half an hour. The music–if you could call it that–blared outside the theater entrance through one of those Costco industrial-use rolling speakers while educators were encouraged to strut around as if they were walking red carpet. I can’t even begin to explain how this applies to an educational retreat.
The poor winers-and-diners along Retro Row would grimace and cringe at every exaggerated bass beat. I sincerely want to apologize to anyone who was trying to indulge in a nice glass of pinot while “I got passion in my pants and I ain’t afraid to show it (show it, show it, show it)” accosted them at least seven times. They didn’t deserve that. None of us deserved that, and the offspring of Berry Gordy have truly done this world a disservice.
I no longer work with the organization, so my intake of this audible concoction of club sweat, chest hair, and gold chains has plummeted. But the song was a hit, making it to number one on Billboard’s Hot 100 list in 2012, so the imitation bass often creeps into my eardrums at unexpected moments. When I hear “When I walk on by, girls be looking like damn he fly,” my instinct is to crawl under a table and cover my head like an elementary school earthquake drill. Even though seven songwriters are credited, it feels like a computer produced every part of that song, including and especially the lyrics. Then again, the best explanation for the lines “We headed to the bar, baby don’t be nervous/ No shoes, no shirt, and I still get serviced” would be seven guys in a room writing together.
These guys won multiple Billboard Music Awards. They were nominated for best group at the Kids Choice Awards. They were nominated for a Grammy.
These are just facts. Digest them how you will.
I personally only plan to digest things Barry Gordy produced musically not genetically.
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