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Track Review

It's a tale as old as time: Boy likes girl. Girl doesn't like boy. Boy figures out how to get even after getting rejected. "Cooler Than Me" offers Mike Posner's 21st-century epilogue to that "tragic" story: Boy writes hit song about mean girl and gets famous.

Almost all of us fall for someone at some point who is, as the saying goes, "out of our league." For Mike Posner, it happened during his sophomore year at Duke University. The object of his affection? An attractive lass in his calculus class who wore Dior, dated a lacrosse player … and wouldn't give Posner the time of day.

So Posner, 20 at the time, retired to his dorm room and penned a cathartic takedown of the haughty hottie hiding behind her sunglasses. "You got designer shades just to hide your face," he sings in this thumping electropop-rap hybrid that crashes The Cars into Justin Timberlake, "You wear 'em around like you're cooler than me/And you never say 'hey' or remember my name/And it's probably 'cause you think you're cooler than me."

Posner goes on to mock her high-class duds and speculates that her aloofness actually cloaks a big dose of insecurity: "I got you all figured out/You need everyone's eyes just to feel seen/Behind your makeup nobody knows who you even are/Who do you think that you are?"

Beyond the jilted narrator's unchecked judgment of his tormentor's indifference, there's one more lyrical hiccup worth noting: an s-word that's partially pronounced—not so much bleeped as it's never finished. (At least in the single version of the song, anyway.)

The video for "Cooler Than Me" riffs on the recurring theme of hiding behind sunglasses. This time, however, it's Posner playing that role at a hotel-room party full of dancing, drinking folks (and a few who are kissing, too). Throughout the video, the singer nabs other people's shades and puts them on, each one making the world look a little different. One girl's glasses make everyone look all dressed up. Another pair does just the opposite, providing Posner with pseudo X-ray vision that enables him (and us) to see dancing, jumping girls in their lingerie. Still another pair adds a psychedelic sheen to the bacchanalian proceedings.

As for the crush who crushed Mike's heart? After opening for Drake at an L.A. show in May, the now 23-year-old singer rushed back to North Carolina to matriculate from Duke. And who should he see but the very girl who inspired "Cooler Than Me." "She tried to make a pass," Posner told Rolling Stone. "She got rejected."

Seems Posner's well on the road to "coolness" himself … with predictable consequences.

Positive Elements

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Readability Age Range







No. 6 on Billboard's Hot 100.

Record Label





April 16, 2010

On Video

Year Published



Adam R. Holz

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