SIDE BY SIDE: Bebe Rexha and David Guetta’s “I’m Good (Blue)”

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SIDE BY SIDE: Bebe Rexha and David Guetta’s “I’m Good (Blue)”

It seems anywhere you go, That Song is playing.

And when I say, ‘that song,’ I, of course, mean Bebe Rexha and David Guetta’s “I’m Good (Blue),” which this week celebrates one year atop the Billboard Dance Charts—a monumental achievement, to say the least. The track is less a sample and more of an homage to Eiffel 65’s iconic 1998 single “Blue (Da Ba Dee),” but it’s nonetheless the perfect song to profile on SIDE BY SIDE

SIDE BY SIDE is our new series that takes a closer look at songs of today and how they interact sample, and, yes, pay homage to songs of the past—because, if there’s one thing we know about dance music, it’s that the genre is built on taking something new and putting a unique spin on it. 

If you were born before or during the nineties—or if, conversely, your parents happened to be big fans of Eurodance—then you’re probably more than familiar with Eiffel 65 and the smash, genre-defining, vocoder-laden hit that is “Blue (Da Ba Dee).”

Released in 1998 via Skooby Records, the track was the lead single off the group’s 1999 debut album Europop, reaching number one in almost twenty countries and peaking at six on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart in January 2000. 

Upon its initial release, “Blue (Da Ba Dee)” didn’t do well in Eiffel 65’s native Italy, and it took a few reworkings before the track became the extraterrestrial and futuristic proteome of a song that we know today. When the track—paired with a bizarre video featuring an alien abduction—did pick up, its effect was profound, proliferating the Eurodance genre across the Atlantic.

(In an exclusive docuseries, Vice chronicles the story behind the track—including the inspiration Eiffel 65’s members Jeffrey Jey, Maurizio Lobina, and Gabry Ponte found in Cher’s use of autotune, their rapid and unprecedented rise to stardom, and the personal difficulties the group experienced as a result.)

The success of “Blue (Da Ba Dee)” is hard to qualify or explain. Still, I’d venture that it was partly due to its conceptual strengths as a dance track and, maybe more significantly, to the accessibility found in its nonsensical story. When I first heard the track, whoever played it for me was convinced that the chorus’ lyrics were “I’m blue / If I was green, I would die,” and I imagine many Eiffel 65 listeners probably had a similar first listening experience, attempting to find meaning in a song whose very progenitors’ will tell you has no meaning.

Last year, over twenty years after the initial release of “Blue,” David Guetta and Bebe Rexha dropped their take on the nineties classic, this time titled “I’m Good (Blue).” Much like the original, “I’m Good (Blue)” ‘s journey to the charts was unorthodox, a result of a viral TikTok featuring a five-year-old demo that forced David Guetta and Bebe Rexha back in the studio to recreate the track.

Gone is the gibberish, replaced by the duo’s lyrics, and gone too is the story of the “guy living in a blue world”—it’s a contemporary, dance-forward version of a classic, updated for today’s listeners and host to Guetta’s signature slick drops and Rexha’s belty pop vocals.

Evidently, the remake struck a chord, and while some techno purists might tell you the sample is too obvious, or some music theorists argue that we may be overindulging nostalgia, there’s something so good about hearing a classic Eurodance melody back on the radio.

To keep up to date with all things electronic music, including exclusive coverage of some of the genre’s biggest festivals and more editions of SIDE BY SIDE, make sure to check back here at Nexus Radio. Lastly, don’t forget to follow us on Instagram @nexusradiodance. 

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