Arriving just in time to initiate an altogether new century of one-hit wonders, Eiffel 65’s “Blue (Da Ba Dee)” makes a funny face at all its competitors at the top of the pop charts. That competition has become a suffocatingly earnest lot — a veritable army of dewy-eyed, talent-show-rooted balladeers who seem to have temporarily checked their fun gene at the door. (Jessica Simpson emotes like a visitor from Planet Star Search.) By comparison, the musical gnome “Blue (Da Ba Dee)” is actually a refreshing bit of absurdity. Its sing-songy, nursery-rhyme hook will lodge itself in your cranium despite your best efforts to remove it, and the contrast between its downbeat images (“I have a girlfriend and she is so blue”) and its paradoxically peppy, throbbing-club ambiance makes you want to listen closer: Is there more than meets the ear in the music or in the Goth-cutup delivery of singer Jeffrey Jey?
None of this should imply that “Blue (Da Ba Dee)” is all that good, but any bit of loopiness is welcome these days. The hit distinguishes itself in other ways as well. There’s the way the tin-can production makes the song feel like a freshly unearthed relic from the now-distant ’80s. And there’s the way it preserves two admirably moronic pop traditions: the vocoder-distorted vocal gimmick (resuscitated prominently on Cher’s “Believe” and Christina Aguilera’s “Genie in a Bottle”) and the subgenre we can call baby-talk-core, heard in gibberish-rock hits through the ages, from Steam’s “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye” to the Police’s “De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da” and Trio’s “Da Da Da.”