Neither crazy nor kids, Ke$ha and will.i.am have paired up for a scientifically formulated dance-pop song ready to pair with vodka bombs at your local sketchy club that smells funny.
The result, “Crazy Kids,” has moments that’ll make you chuckle at your car radio in a “TiK ToK” or “I Gotta Feeling” way. First, the pluses: will.i.am even refers to his “mazel tov” role on the Black Eyed Peas’ smash, and it’s broadly appealing when he stoops to clown with nonsense sounds (“I’m speaking with a mumble”). And Ke$ha, always adept at live-for-tonight choruses, belts out a catchy one here for everyone who’s “dancin’ on the dance floor or drinkin’ by the bar” — or who’s willing to imagine they are. It’s not as “Britney, bitch” as Spears collaboration “Scream & Shout,” but it’s just as obviously well-suited for ClearChannel’s Top 40-picking suits.
And that’s probably why, like a visit to the sorts of bars that will be blasting this song on Saturday nights, “Crazy Kids” leaves a slightly gross feeling. The way the song mixes Peter Bjorn & John-style whistling, Tegan and Sara-style strums, that oh-we-oh meme that’s also on “Scream & Shout” and Pink’s “Are We All We Are” (here it’s “We are, we are, we are we are”), and a whispered “crazy people” when the music cuts out? A formidable cocktail, if diluted with the usual will.i.am-accompanying Euroclub whirs and thumps. But Ke$ha rhyming Gucci with hoochie with coochie is awkward self-parody. And will.i.am’s line about “boobies” and “seeing double”? We’re approaching new-Psy-video levels of cheap crassness.
Ke$ha’s charisma is enough to keep you from flipping the dial when this comes on the local KISS FM affiliate, but its humor and style smack less of crazy kids than the stuffy old guys who’ve never gone broke underestimating them. Now a Ke$ha collaboration with Pharrell and Nile Rodgers, on the other hand… What, she’s already working on an album with the Flaming Lips? If we heard that at the club, we’d scream and shout, for sure.