The Katy Perry Debate
It all started a couple of months ago with an email from Steve Perkins - ChartBlog reviewer and a man who likes his pop with extra sugar (and spice, and all things nice). He'd just seen the videos to 'I Kissed A Girl' and 'UR So Gay' by Katy Perry, and was trying to work out what he felt about it all. We had a chat about it, and then another one a week later...and then another one...and another...
Fast-forward to today, and Katy Perry has gate-crashed the charts (on downloads alone, no less), and let's be honest, now EVERYONE is bickering about whether they approve of her or not, right?
So, to try and move the debate along a little bit, here are the highlights of the discussion. Let's call it The ChartBlog Katy Perry Think-Tank.
For the record, we've both since changed our minds.*
Steve Perkins says: There's something very contrived about this girl, and I'm not entirely sure I care that much for her voice, but this song is sort of catchy.
Fraser McAlpine says: Hmmmmm. To me, she seems to be an American remix of Kate Nash or Lily Allen, only without any of Kate Nash's very human flaws or charm. There's nothing perky about it, that's my problem.
Steve Perkins says: I think I'd like it better if I thought she actually meant it, rather than she's just doing it to be CONTROVERSIAL. There's something contrived about Kate Nash/Lily Allen too, but at least with them you get the impression they're genuinely telling stories about the world as they've experienced it.
Fraser McAlpine says: Also, they have better one-liners than "you're so gay and you don't even like boys".
Steve Perkins says: Even "you say I must eat so many lemons because I am so BITTAH"? :D
Fraser McAlpine says: I liked that one... It's the kind of stupid thing people say when they're rowing. Plus it wasn't the chorus! The Katy Perry line is closer to those dreadful Michael Bolton/Meatloaf songs where there's a massively long-winded setup. Like "said I loved you but I lied", where he has to go on and explain himself in the next line...life's too short!
Steve Perkins says: I'm sensing one-hit wonderdom for her. Hazel said that she's listened to the whole album and 'UR So Gay' and 'I Kissed A Girl' are actually the highlights, which should give you some idea...
Fraser McAlpine says: You've got to hand it to her in one sense. Someone on her team (or indeed her) has realised that attention-grabbing songs like these, especially ones which flirt with taboos, are always going to be successful. And they're right!
Steve Perkins says: Although I hate it, I was singing it ALL EVENING last night. I was singing it in a silly voice to make fun of her, but I was still singing it. That can't be good.
Fraser McAlpine says: I'm at a loss to nail exactly what is missing, what crucial factor would elevate these songs from being total cack to...anything else. I'm struggling a bit, cos all the terms are rocksnobspeak, but there's a really important spark which doesn't seem to be there.
There. I think we've all learned a lot from this frank exchange of views.
If, however, you don't feel that your feelings have been represented within this mighty meeting of minds, please add your comments below. In the meantime, here's a brief summary of important things to remember.
GOOD NEWS! It's a lethally catchy bit of fun!
You can thank Cathy Dennis for this. She's got an astonishing ear for things which will wedge in people's brains forever. Remember 'Toxic'? 'Can't Get You Out Of My Head'? 'About You Now'? Well, that's because Cathy WANTS you to. She's a melody ninja, and this song is a musical throwing star, aimed right at your cerebellum.
BAD NEWS! It's a painfully smug tease-athon!
The last song which was this cocksure about its own 'edginess' (as if 'edgy' and 'any good' are somehow interchangeable) was 'Hanky Panky' by Madonna. A record which could have been massively improved if all the heavy-handed (!) and crowbarred-in references to spanking were taken out, and replaced with a tune. 'I Kissed A Girl' is only 30% as outrageous as it likes to think it is.
WEIRD NEWS! The "cherry chapstick" thing!
How can two words cause such confusion and bewilderment? I mean I KNOW what chapstick is, I know you can get different flavours and that cherry is one of them. But am I alone in wondering if a "cherry chapstick" isn't, y'know...something else? There's just something weird about it. It sounds like an innuendo, and if the song was called 'I Kissed A Boy' it definitely WOULD be (and the song wouldn't get played on the radio ever), but it isn't. I'm so confused!
Over to you!
* He hates it. I quite like it.