Pop! Week Continues with Katy Perry: the Almost Generic Brunette

Racist!

Katy Perry, AKA the hot one, AKA the not-blonde.

Katy Perry finally won me over with “Extraterrestrial.” The track is something of an anomaly in her catalogue of hits. There’s nothing exactly understated about it, but within context, it’s a pretty subtle song. It wasn’t until it was over that I figured out which part was the chorus.

Until then, I thought she was too obvious, too calculated, and wrote her off. Her other songs are like martial beats and shouted choruses. From bikini tops to fireworks to Sapphic kisses, everything! Gets! An! Exclamation Point! In the world of Katy Perry.

But even though it’s all big and belted, there is some weird lyrical content in these songs. “You PMS like a bitch, I should know” is the second thing she says in “Hot and Cold.” It’s a weirdly specific way to make a fairly generic point (a guy she likes can’t seem to make up his mind and what’s a girl to do?). Even more perplexing is the pre-chorus of E.T. where she asks a new lover to “infect” her with love and “fill” her with “poison.” Lady, I know medical science has made a lot of advances, but AIDS is still a thing to consider when you’re crafting sexy metaphors. Rape is too, which makes the “Wanna be a victim/Ready for abduction” line almost as problematic.

So despite the big and brassy production, the world of love and relationships in Katy Perry’s world is kind of scary and hostile (her debut single was the light-rock emo-bash “Ur So Gay,”). I’m tempted to believe that’s true. Tantalizing fact about Perry: like Little Richard, Michael Jackson and Prince, she was brought up in a strict Christian upbringing. She went from seven years of recording gospel songs to blasting her boobs out to the world to promote a fraternity party drunk girl attention getter of a dance song. She went from zero to 100 in months; that transition would be jarring for anybody.

Maybe that’s why she injects so much personality into seemingly bland endeavors. It’s all new to her. That’s why in the end, she’s dysfunctional as a sex symbol. Despite her va va voom figure and her propensity for flashing muppets, she gives off too goofy a vibe to be a vixen. That’s what occurred to me when I watched her live performance in Letterman’s studio. She’s wearing this flouncy little white cocktail dress number that she matches with sensible shoes. At first, as a red blooded American boy, I was disappointed at the lack of high heels and was all like “come on, sexbot, sex it up there with the sex stuff.”

Then she got onstage and started jumping around the stage like a singer in a high school ska band, kicking up her legs like choreography was never invented. I’ve never seen a church girl try ecstasy for the first time, but I’d have to imagine it would be exactly like that.

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