“Holy sh*t. This song is cooler than Denzel Washington riding a shark.”
That’s a YouTube comment about “Kangaraoo Court,” a ludicrously catchy new song by the L.A.-based Capital Cities. And you know what? That’s about right.
The magic of the entire song is captured in the chorus.
First, it’s a string of short phrases—”shut up! shut up! shut up!”—that are easy to shout at the top of your lungs while you’re driving with the windows down or putting away laundry or pretending to read a literary novel. Easy participation is key.
Plus, the melody is pretty. It’s not just that it’s easy to sing along: You actually want to. (This is not always true. I memorized “Who Let the Dogs Out” in about five seconds, but did I really want to? No.)
And also? The production on the chorus is really interesting. Rolling waves of beeps and bloops get layered in a thick, rich sound. The beat is full and meaty, and I love that. Enough with songs that have, like, one handclap underneath the lyrics. Smother in me sound. Command me to dance.
This applies to the rest of the song, too, and after several listens, I’m still discovering things. Like the part where a random woman starts talking. Hey, girl! Welcome to the party! You make this song surprising!
As a bonus, the lyrics tell an interesting story about a man trying to escape self doubt by hitting the dance floor. “I admit defeat then I move my feet,” he says. “My history will never be repeated. I won’t ever be repeated.”
That’s a large idea for an electro-pop song: You worry that you’re wasting your life, but then you accept that your life is still unique, no matter what you do with it.
When a song makes me dance and think, then I’m definitely cranking it up, you know?
Note: For now, you can download “Kangaroo Court” at SoundCloud.
Mark Blankenship has written about pop music for The New York Times and NPR. He tweets as @IAmBlankenship. He had forgotten the definition of “kangaroo court,” but when he looked it up, he realized it perfectly applies to the story of this song.