Katy Perry - 'Thinking Of You'
Well, it had to happen sooner or later, I suppose - Katy Perry getting all deep and serious on us. It's not a good idea, of course, because the point of Katy Perry - as much as she has a point beyond that of endlessly working my last nerve - is to be as obviously provocative as possible with tales of ladykissing, homophobia and classy references to menstruation in her lyrics in a way that will delight some people and repulse others. It may not be the most inventive formula in the world, but for a while it was working.
It was certainly working well enough for the Brits to award her the gong for Best International Female, despite her entire output thus far being the musical equivalent of a toddler pulling her skirt over her head and running around the playground screaming "look at meeeeee!" And I suppose she has at least made an effort to keep up the charade in this attempt at a more tender song, because it's about being in love with someone who's not the person you're currently seeing. Ooh! Controversial! She kissed a boy who was not her boyfriend, and she liked it!
The problem is that trying to do a song that required singing, as opposed to sassing, was never going to work, because Katy Perry is a dreadful singer. I mean, just listen to this song. In an attempt to recreate the breathy tone that a decent singer might use, she ends up huffing and puffing away like a 20-a-day smoker on the last leg of a cross country run. In order to emote, she's created an unsettling staccato effect, not unlike that of Tina Barrett's line deliveries on LA 7, where pausing after every second word seemed to be an acceptable substitute for actually understanding what you were saying.
It gets worse, too: come the chorus and Katy's pronunciation of "I" ("eeeeuuurrrggghhheeyyye") makes Britney Spears' pronunciation of "me" sound positively unremarkable. It's the kind of vocal affectation you see a lot in the early rounds of something like The X Factor or American Idol when someone's trying to disguise their limitations with a bunch of cheap tricks, not quite understanding that just because Beyoncé uses melisma and is a good singer, it doesn't mean that using melisma is the same as singing well.
And before I get branded a hater or anything like that, I'll point out that I thought 'Hot 'n' Cold' was, by and large, pretty fun, despite some utterly terrible lyrics in the first verse. But it's time for the joke to stop now, because it's wearing very thin and the idea that we should take Katy seriously as an artist is ludicrous.
Let's be honest, if someone sang like this to your face, as a midnight serenade, say, you'd scream in horror and run as far away as your legs could take you. And you'd be entirely right to do so.
Download: Out now
CD Released: March 9th