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This Bebe Rexha and Lil Wayne Song Should Be Illegal

Among the new music released last Friday was a new single by Bebe Rexha, who you might remember as the voice from G-Eazy’s generally intolerable “Me, Myself & I,” a song that she wrote. Her new song features Lil Wayne, and is called “The Way I Are (Dance With Somebody).”  It’s here where we need to stop.

As you may recognize, the song’s title is an unwieldy mash-up of sorts of two previous hit songs: Timbaland’s “The Way I Are” and Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me).” The chorus goes like this:

I just wanna dance with somebody, I just wanna dance with somebody
It could be anybody, tell me, are you that somebody?
Don’t matter who you are, just love me the way I are
I just wanna dance with somebody
I just wanna dance with somebody

As you can see, the chorus liberally references the Houston song. There is also the unmistakable quotation of Timbaland. But you will also notice a third screamingly obvious reference, this one to Aaliyah’s “Are You That Somebody” (produced, of course, by Timbaland). Almost literally the entire chorus of the song is made up of lyrics from other, very-well known songs, which have no meaningful connection to each other, and aren’t made to have one here. The music being referenced isn’t recontextualized in a novel way, like, say, DJ Mustard’s reanimation of Robin S. or, I dunno, Mariah Carey reciting bits of old R&B songs while singing about listening to the radio while heartbroken. There is no melodic interpolation, and the references don’t feel novel, unlike the recent namedropping of The Libertines in Kygo and Selena Gomez’s “It Ain’t Me,” and “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” was already mined for nostalgia much more effectively by Jeremih a few years ago. Rexha’s song is an ugly Frankenstein of lazy songwriting that leans so heavily on your memories that you begin to feel like you’re being crushed.

The Lil Wayne verse is kinda fun as long as you don’t pay too much attention, though.