Friday, July 11, 2008

I KISSED A GIRL AND I LIKED IT -- THE ATTENTION, AT LEAST: Picking up on something KCosmo mentioned in the comments to Wednesday's SYTYCD post, which followed Bob's "summer music" post, the #1 song right now (at least by iTunes downloads and SYTYCD pronouncement) is Katy Perry's "I Kissed a Girl." Fair enough -- it's catchy, with suitably (for a pop trifle) overproduced vocals layered over a goth-lite Gary Glitter-via-Marilyn Manson track. While the music seems a bit heavy and the lyrics a bit defensive for a typical summer hit, it's certainly nothing that offends me.

It doesn't seem to be offending anybody else, either, and I think that's part of its appeal. In the story I heard on NPR about the controversy, or more accurately the "controversy," scare quotes intended, the teens interviewed seemed unable to muster any enthusiasm for the thesis that there is something daring about the lyric. Part of what a high school kid isn't going to say on NPR, I'm guessing, is that "girls kissing" may come right between "beer pong" and "drunken sing-along" in the stylized Kabuki drama known as "frat party." Though I really should ask someone 20 years younger than me to confirm, I surmise that the song isn't popular because it breaks some taboo (unlike Jill Sobule's song of the same name and sentiment 13 years ago, which got itself widely banned), but rather because it describes something that actually has some currency -- heterosexual girls kissing each other with the permission of their boyfriends for minor and brief titillating effect. It's a song about the slightest act of consequence-free rebellion possible. The lyric might as well be "I got a small butterfly tattoo on my hip" or "my boyfriend is half-Jewish." But again, I don't expect a summer song to tax my brain or challenge my politics, so nothing wrong with that.

Beyond that, I agree with commenter Tortoiseshelly (who, in addition to making the point I'm about to make,also thanks to AM not the DJ, who corrected my misattribution of the old "I Kissed a Girl" -- I get my mid-90s cursive-logo singer-songwriter ironists (ETA: and also commenters) mixed up) that Katy Perry should never perform live. Says she: "someone needs to tell Kate Perry that walking back and forth on the stage, playing coy and making Betty Boop faces does not a good performance make." A limp walk-through like that just dissipates all of the energy in the song.

No comments:

Post a Comment