An occasional look at happenings in the North American music world in preparation for said phenemona’s arrival in Europe.
Some are calling it the ‘Umbrella’ of 2008. Katy Perry’s electro-pop-rock single ‘I Kissed A Girl’ has become the summer song of US metropolises. The song has just had its sixth week at the top of the Billboard Top 100 chart, fittingly blocking a number one for Rihanna’s ‘Take a Bow’. The song extols the pleasures of a female eschewing male company for a naughty female-on-female kiss. Which would be fine if the song wasn’t such a tame and mediocre attempt at pop controversy. There’s also the small matter of the song
stealing sharing the name of a well-known 1995 song by Jill Sobule.
The song panders to the lowest common denominator with gender clichÃ©s (“Us girls we are so magical / Soft skin, red lips, so kissable / Hard to resist so touchable“) and male fantasy of said-variety (“I kissed a girl just to try it / I hope my boyfriend don’t mind it“). Sobule’s song shows up Perry’s take on things as shallow and superficial, it’s obvious that Perry is attempting something she just can’t pull off as promiscuous temptress and as performer. Whatever happened to believability in pop? It’s obviously not an issue with Perry all over the charts and the TV the last few weeks. Sal Cinquemani’s review of the album for Slant Magazine highlights the marketing ploy inherent in such a song – “‘I Kissed a Girl’ isn’t problematic because it promotes homosexuality, but because its appropriation of the gay lifestyle exists for the sole purpose of garnering attention’”both from Perry’s boyfriend and her audience.”
Perry herself has undergone a radical makeover in the last few years. The 23 year old began her singing career under the name of Katy Hudson guided by her pastoral parents. She sang gospel songs and Christian ballads. Her new look and album One of The Boys has gained her mainstream attention to the detriment of her Contemporary Christian Music fans (Sample Quote:”I’m hoping she’ll wake up at some point and realize what she’s doing to herself.” ). Perry also has a song about a metrosexual ex-boyfriend called ‘Ur So Gay’. One of The Boys is sure to sell by the bucketload. Prepare yourself for the aural assault.