Next, it should sound familiar, but not so much that you can say "oh, that sounds like 'Last Friday Night (TGIF),'" to use one totally random example. Check: "I Don't Want You Back" immediately sounds like a song you've heard for years, except you haven't (I remember having that feeling about Kelly Clarkson's "A Moment Like This"), and while it cleverly waves hello to Jackson 5's "I Want You Back" and countless other hits throughout the late 90s and 2000s, it's timeless enough to have come from any year previous but still not sound out of date in 2012.
Finally, it helps if the single inspires a certain giddy thrill, perhaps so much so that you feel a little embarrassed or even slightly perturbed at being so effectively manipulated. Check and double check: I was walking through a shady area of North Hollywood listening to this on my headphones and I began to fear for my life. It's the pop song equivalent of the movie scene in which a couple twirls around in a field in slow motion after a long-awaited rendezvous, the kind where the next shot is them lying on their backs in the grass looking up at the stars (or in bed, smoking cigarettes). "I Don't Want You Back" made me understand why Tom Cruise jumped all over Oprah's couch.
So there you have it. Erica Gibson and co-writer and producer Scott Stallone have created a perfect pop hit. If I were ever to use the banned term "flawless" to describe anything on this blog, it would possibly be this, but I won't because it's banned and besides I just cheated and used it anyway. Take a listen to "I Don't Want You Back" and let me know if I'm crazy or if this is the undiscovered pop gem of the summer. At the very least you'll get a few pleasant minutes out of it, on me. You're welcome.
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