Gwen Stefani’s new song, “Make Me Like You,” is a breezy little étude written by Justin Tranter and Julia Michaels. It is also so similar to the Cardigans’ “Lovefool” that, depending on your patience for that ‘96 pop hit, you will either turn it off or melt into an LSD-like vortex in which your brain morphs the songs together into infinity.
Surely the writers meant for it to recall “Lovefool,” because Stefani arcs her voice the way Cardigans singer Nina Persson did on that song and the rhythm guitar is similar; just when the un-“Lovefool” like chorus cleanses the palate, in she pops with that Persson melody, giving the elders among us flashbacks to the glory years of Claire Danes and Leonardo DiCaprio cursedly gallivanting in Romeo & Juliet (“Lovefool” was on the soundtrack). Look at these Swedes!
Of course it was some form of demon genius, from a pop radio perspective, for Tranter and Michaels to reference this inextricable little number—it’s 20 years old this year and still goes, and when trying to reach a maximum amount of people it helps if there’s an element of the familiar. And it will reach a maximum amount of people: this is the song for which she’s premiering a live video during the Grammys on Monday. In an interview with Zane Lowe, Stefani said of the track: “We were losing our minds. It was called ‘Make Me Like You’ and we couldn’t believe it like how did we write this song? It’s so good!”
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