Trailing by half an inch: Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky,” a neo-disco superball that’s enjoyed three months of perpetual bounce at nightclubs, baseball stadiums, casino floors, dentists offices and other public spaces where Americans need luck, which is apparently all of them. Considering its perky omnipresence, this song is just about exhausted.
Posing for selfies near the winner’s circle, there’s the bafflingly popular “We Can’t Stop.” It’s a mid-tempo misbehavior anthem by Miley Cyrus which paraphrases Lady Antebellum (“Can’t you see it’s we who own the night?”) and Waka Flocka Flame (“Can’t you see it’s we who ’bout that life?”) in the same tangy-hot breath. Unlike its naughty video, this song is incredibly boring.
And then there’s “Versace,” a mesmerizing little rap spasm by rookie Atlanta trio Migos.
It’s also by everybody else. Drake, Meek Mill, Angel Haze, Soulja Boy and Travis Porter are among the growing mob of rappers that have recorded versions of “Versace,” making the song feel meme-ish in a fresh way. Instead of enjoying exponential reincarnation through a surplus of fan-made dance videos on YouTube — like Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” did last summer — “Versace” has been elevated by the artists. Rappers are grabbing on to it and making it their own, knowing full well it belongs to anybody who wants to take a crack at it.
And while the flukey success of “Versace” qualifies as a surprise, isn’t summertime all about flirting with surprise? The popularity of “Blurred Lines,” “Get Lucky” and “We Can’t Stop” feels preordained. Why not root for the song that came cannonballing into the pool like a sizzling meteor crumb?
Another question: Has the line between catchy and irritating ever been so perilously thin? “Versace” feels like it’s tickling your brain while eating it. The original refrain, rapped by Migos, is hypnotic, vacant and magnetic against all odds. “Versace, Versace-Versace, Versace-Versace, Versace! Versace, Versace-Versace . . .”
After hearing these guys enunciate the name of the Italian fashion house 158 times within 3 minutes 7 seconds, it becomes apparent that this three-syllable word — with its intoxicating combination of fricative consonants — is surprisingly fun to say out loud, over and over and over.
The song has other words, too. But none are as dizzying as the backing track supplied by Xavier “Zaytoven” Dodson, a Georgia-based producer who’s crafted all kinds of woozy soundscapes for Atlanta rapper Gucci Mane. The sickly glimmer of “Versace” is consistent with Zaytoven’s discography. It’s icy, slippery, tough.