'Call Me Maybe:" When music becomes meme

By Kate Stanton

Thanks to Justin Bieber and the Internet, Carly Rae Jepsen's buoyant, catchy pop single, "Call Me Maybe," is set to become the song of the summer.

Not only has the single been climbing steadily up the music charts -- it sits at No. 1 on iTunes and No. 4 on Billboard's Hot 100 -- "Call Me Maybe" has become a veritable Internet sensation, inspiring fans to interact through countless viral video parodies.


Jepsen released "Call Me Maybe" in Canada in September, but she owes much of its current success to fellow Canadian and Internet crooner-turned-pop-star Justin Bieber, who first heard the song on Canadian radio during a trip home and tweeted, "Call me maybe by Carly Rae Jepsen is possibly the catchiest song I've ever heard lol."

Bieber began the "Call Me Maybe" tribute craze with a homemade music video in which he and his girlfriend Selena Gomez lip sync and dance to the song along with other teen stars. Bieber's video has since garnered more than 39 million hits on YouTube.

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Soon, everyone from Katy Perry to James Franco to sports teams got in on the act. In one video that went viral, Harvard baseball players fist-pump and dance to "Call Me Maybe" in a van.


Southern Methodist University's rowing team made a similar video using only their legs. Jay Leno responded with a cleverly edited clip of Mitt Romney and President Obama doing their own version of a "Call Me Maybe" van dance.

Music critics have also weighed in on the song's seemingly universal infectiousness.

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NPR's Ann Powers said that listening to the song "is a lot like getting tickled." Gawker's Emma Carmichael deemed it "the new perfect pop song." New York Magazine's Vulture blog called it "delicious pop candy, sunny and compulsively listenable."

Alluding to unusually jubilant public reactions to Jepsen's single, Maura Johnston from the Village Voice asked, "Is it possible to get a crush on not just a pop song but also on the way that said track has nestled itself in peoples' consciousness?"

The original music video, in which Jepsen flirts with a boy next door only to discover he's after a male member of the band, has resonated with many gay listeners.

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Jepsen told Time in an interview that she had no idea the twist ending would make such a splash:


"When we shot the “Call Me Maybe” video, we weren’t even thinking the ending was not normal. I have so many gay friends that I love. It’s a regular thing. And if my video is encouraging that mind frame with other children and other people — well, it’s about time, I guess!"

What's next for the song stuck in everyone's heads? How about "Call Me Maybe" business cards?

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And finally, the "Call Me Maybe" supercut:

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