For reasons of sheer boredom, I found myself watching the Grammy Awards broadcast this year for the first time in ages, and at times almost enjoying myself. One of those times was when Cee Lo Green performed his big hit accompanied by, and I don’t think I imagined this although it sounds unlikely, Gwyneth Paltrow and a bunch of Muppets. You know the song – the one they coyly referred to on the show as “The Song Otherwise Known as ‘Forget You.’ ”
It was indeed “forget you” that came out of Cee Lo’s mouth, and this didn’t ruin the song entirely, though it did dilute somewhat the frisson of a bouncy, irresistible pop tune called “Fuck You.” Never mind – this is Cee Lo’s moment, he is invincible, and you have to respect him for writing a surefire hit single and giving it lyrics that render it unsuitable for broadcast. The muse was truly with Mr. Green that day; were Willie the Shakes himself still with us, he would be envious of this couplet:
I see you drivin’ ’round town with the girl I love
And I’m like, “Fuck you!”
So simple, so elegant, and expressive of so much, not just about the man who wrote it but about the world we live in. Truly, this is a song for today and has inspired a rash of cover versions and received numerous awards (though not a Grammy), not to mention perhaps the greatest honor that can be lavished on a song: being performed by William Shatner.
So the obvious question is, is the rest of The Lady Killer as good as “Fuck You”? The answer to that would be no. Nothing else here is half as memorable, which is not to say it’s bad. Cee Lo’s voice is like buttah and scales the heights with effortless aplomb – maybe too effortless, because this album often flirts with drifting over the line into excessive slickness. “Cry Baby” is a good tune, and “Old Fashioned” has an appropriately retro sound complete with strings and an aching lead vocal…but I just keep coming back to this: