Billboard is celebrating the 2010s with essays on the 100 songs that we feel most define the decade that was -- the songs that both shaped and reflected the music and culture of the period -- with help telling their stories from some of the artists, behind-the-scenes collaborators, label folks and industry insiders involved.
A cosign from a major artist has always been a surefire way to get an up-and-comer some much-needed attention. But in the case of Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe,” Justin Bieber didn’t just hop on the original and drop in a verse. The Bieb went bigger, gathering his famous friends for an on-camera sing-a-long that exploded on YouTube, inspired thousands of lip-dub videos and sent the song sky high. Yet even the grandest endorsement wouldn’t have moved the needle so dramatically if the song in question were not as explosive, joyous and downright addictive as “Call Me Maybe.”
Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” began in pieces, the fragments of the song living separately on other tracks before joining forces like a pop Voltron. “The heart of the song started as the bridge, which was a verse of another song,” Jepsen recalls. One day, while she and co-writer Tavish Crowe were in her apartment on Alma Street in Vancouver working, she sang out, “But here’s my number, so call me maybe,” thinking that it was a pre-chorus for yet another song. “I said to Tavish, ‘Oh that’s maybe too cheesy or too on the nose,’ and he’s like, ‘I think it’s kinda good.’”