Six degrees of ‘Fame’

I have the theme song from “Fame” stuck in my head.

“I’m gonna live forever. I’m gonna learn how to fly. I feel it coming together. People will see me and cry.”

Catchy, right?

But with the release of the highly anticipated “Fame 2009,” I can’t quite tell anymore if it’s Irene Cara’s slightly raspy voice that keeps playing through my head. What if it’s Naturi Naughton’s soulful belting that provides the sound track to my life as I walk purposefully through Cross Campus these days?

To investigate, I decided it would be a good/effective tool to play the songs at the same time. Here’s what I found:

1. Cara’s 1980 version is quieter. Or at least it was on the YouTube file I found.

2. The new introduction is significantly longer than Cara’s. The repeated refrain of “remember, remember, remember” hits home the message of the “Fame” franchise within the first 15 seconds of the song. The old version does pull out the same motif around two minutes and 30 seconds into the song.

3. The heavily produced backbeat of the new “Fame” has replaced the guitar riffs of 1980, which will forever represent a metonymy for ’80s music in my oversimplified version of music history.

4. The newer version is slower. It’s kind of like how the average weight for women increased from 140.2 pounds in 1960 to 164.3 pounds in 2002.

Basically, the 2009 version is exactly what it should be: a hearkening back to the 1980s classic, but updated for today’s music tastes. It makes you want to dance. Hell, it’s making me type faster just by listening to it (I’m on about six times in a row now, probably more by the time I finish this).

And let’s talk about Naturi Naughton for a second. The girl has a killer voice and has been largely unknown until now. But when I saw the preview for “Fame” I couldn’t help but think, “I know this girl from somewhere.” Some quick Googling revealed the answer: NATURI NAUGHTON WAS A MEMBER OF THE ORIGINAL 3LW.

No? No one else remembers 3LW?

Well allow me to remind you. 3LW’s first single, “No More (Baby I’ma Do Right),” came out in 2000. It went something like this: “You do or you don’t don’t. You will or you won’t won’t. No moooore. No moooore baby I’ma do right.” It was so catchy. And soo good. Naughton left the group in 2000, and the remaining two members, Kiely Williams and Adrienne Bailon, went on to become a part of the Cheetah Girls (omgzz!). And Raven Symone, another former Cheetah Girl, was in 1998’s “Doctor Doolittle” with Hamilton Camp who was in “City Heat” with — Irene Cara in 1984!

“Baby remember my name.”

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