When I was about ten-years old, I was awakened from my bed by a firefighter. Rather disconcerting, I can assure you.
Our chimney was on fire. Several people stopped their cars along the side of the road, knocked on our door and warned my parents that the chimney was on fire. Sparks and flames were shooting out from the brick structure into the night sky. But my step-father scoffed at the notion, assuring each would-be savior that he was just burning some green wood in the wood burning stove.
He never even bothered to step outside the house to take a look at the chimney.
Eventually the fire department arrived and informed my step-father that he was a moron. Then they evacuated the kids from the house.
So I respect firefighters a lot. They carried me out of my childhood home that night to safety, and for a long time I considered becoming a volunteer firefighter.
That said, I do not endorse Cee Lo Green’s new song dedicated to firefighters.
Green, whose mother was a firefighter and who was rescued from a car wreck by firefighters as well, rewrote the lyrics of his well-known song F**k You again, this time changing the name of the song to Thank You and spinning the lyrics into a song of appreciation for all the firefighters who risk their lives everyday for morons like my stepfather.
I say again because he already changed the song to Forget You in order to garner radio play and inclusion on movie soundtracks, a decision that I also did not endorse.
While I am typically opposed to vulgarity in music, the use of it in this particular song was so perfect that I was willing to make an exception to my rule.
Despite the language, and perhaps in part because of it, I love this song in its original form.
Forget You is a shadow of the songs former self, and changing the lyrics for a third time, even for such a good cause, makes the song seem like an empty vessel into which Green can dump any two word sentiment that suits the occasion, an aspect is highlighted in this new version song when Green sings, “I wrote this song about you. What would we do without you?”
He didn’t write this song about firefighters. He wrote the song about a guy who has been dumped by a girl because he didn’t have enough money.
The lyric should read, “I re-re-wrote this song about you. What would I do with it?”
It’s not easy (and perhaps not wise) to criticize a song written in honor of firefighters, but it is slightly less difficult to criticize a song that has been re-re-written to honor firefighters.
Just write a new song, Cee Lo. Don’t marginalize and commercialize a song that was at one time so perfect.
And as you watch the video, could someone please explain Green’s use of his iPhone as he record the song? Is he really reading the lyrics off the phone? Or using some metronome app? Or making a personal recording of the recording?
Or is he just checking email, which is what it looks like to me.