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Notre Dame Loves Carly Rae Jepson

Sam Stryker | Tuesday, February 28, 2012

In case the rock you live under doesn’t have Wi-Fi, allow me to let you in on a Notre Dame secret — campus has been infected with the YouTube sensation “Call Me Maybe,” the sugar-sweet pop confection sung by Canadian Idol contestant Carly Rae Jepson.

Granted, this isn’t actually a secret. The song established a ubiquitous presence over campus the past few days. “Call Me Maybe” has become such a big deal on campus I’d wager Fr. Jenkins is dancing to it in his office as you read this.

What is so impressive is how swiftly “Call Me Maybe” has achieved omnipresence. I heard it for the first time Thursday night. By Friday, the song played within five minutes of my arrival at Finni’s. Over the course of the night, it played multiple times, so much that the DJ apparently had to stop taking requests for the song. Even at Saturday’s hockey game, Notre Dame students could not resist holding up “Call Me Maybe” signs.

What makes this song so special that it has infected campus at a viral rate?

The answer is first and foremost the song’s lyrics. A mild-mannered Canadian, Jepson seems to offer a perspective relatable to the Notre Dame experience. She just wants her love interest to call her, maybe. In the land of dining hall dates, dorm parties and parietals, this unassuming desire is quite relatable.

Jepson’s lyrical dexterity does not stop there. Throughout the song, she croons “Hey I just met you/and this is crazy” and “And all the other boys/try to chase me” as reasons for giving out her number. In the land of the Grotto and the Golden Dome, students want musical purity, not the heathen entertainment of Lady Gaga and Britney Spears. Since Taylor Swift hasn’t released a new album in a while, Carly Rae was kind enough to fill the void — and Notre Dame students acted accordingly.

But more than just the lyrical virtuosity of the Canadian lass is at work here. Jepson has not one, but two music videos to complement her magnum opus. The first is a standard love song music video. Jepson tries to capture the attention of her stud of a next-door neighbor. She washes her car seductively, sings music in her garage, watches him mow the lawn and imagines herself on the cover of a cheesy romance novel with him.

All of this would seem like a run of the mill love story. But there is a catch. Just as our girl Carly Rae is about to give her number to her man, he turns around and give his number to her guitar player — her male guitar player. Poor Carly Rae never saw it coming.

Here at Notre Dame, students are used to success — in the classroom, on the playing field and in our extracurricular activities. Romance, however, seems to be another story. Just like Carly Rae, the one time we pluck up enough courage to go after someone, we get rejected, in sometimes unexpected ways.

The second video, in which Jepson does not appear, seems to rectify all the rejection embodied in the first video. It features Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, Ashley Tisdale and their friends, and was made with a webcam. In the video, the bevy of teen idols dances around a house playfully to the song.

For every romantic rejection on campus, there are many more stories of friendship and fun nights out with friends, perhaps explaining why this version of the song has twice as many views as Carly Rae’s original. After all, isn’t the bond you make with your peers the defining trait of the Notre Dame experience? No matter the ups and downs you may experience in pursuit of a Ring by Spring, your friends are always there for a late night dance session (even if they are not A-listers like the Biebs).

So there you have it. In the vein of “Party in the USA,” Notre Dame has once again been struck by pop culture lightning. Expect to hear “Call Me Maybe” at every dorm party, study session and night out from here until commencement. You may as well embrace it — maybe.