Is there something in the water that is making pop stars put out (pun intended) songs which make sex and love seem totally disgusting? Between ‘Dirty Talk’ (reviewed here), S&M (to be reviewed soon) and this song, it seems like everyone has taken a turn down Sadomasochism Lane. Can’t anyone just sing about noiseless, consensual sex in the missionary position anymore? Does everything have to sound so rapey?
Ok, maybe I’m a prude. Or maybe it’s because I grew up with the pop music of the mid-late 90s and early 00s, where wholesome teen starlets (chiefly Britney Spears, but also the likes of Mandy Moore, Lindsay Lohan etc.) were singing about how hard it is to have a crush on a boy (and they’re like totally sooooo right!), and strong independent women (Destiny’s Child/Beyonce, TLC, Aaliyah) singing about being strong independent women.
But, as an example, I’d much rather hear ‘Baby One More Time’ over ‘Slave 4 U’ (the fact that the latter is atrocious notwithstanding). And the same stands for Katy Perry, really. I’d much rather hear ‘Teenage Dream’, which in its own way it quite sweet, to ‘Peacock’ or ‘E.T.’, which immediately fails in my eyes by not being her galactic space opera opus about the difficulties of falling in love with a Martian but no manner of Earthly protest to it’s apparent “wrongness” can keep them apart.
The song rides mostly on the coattails of some incredibly tinny drum machine beat which I swear I’ve heard as the basis of some Rihanna song. The only other elements present are synths which either boop or bling in a very 80s way, a skittering background drum line and Katy Perry’s incredibly processed voice. Any melody with which she is trying to sing is offset by auto-tune or that whiny/yell-y quality her voice has when she sings higher than her vocal register can really handle.
I guess it’s a bit catchy, but I can’t imagine it being a very fun song to dance to. It doesn’t really reach that ‘crescendo-beyond-a-crescendo’ you kinda expect. And the beat really is quite slow…in fact it really sounds a lot like the stomp/clap of ‘We Will Rock You’. And the rest of it just sounds like a t.A.t.U b-side, which probably would be very insulting to Katy Perry if she ever actually read this. Though they do share a history of potentially damaging faux-lesbianism, so that’s a nice exemplar of the 6 degrees of separation thing.
Once again, sadly, I have a problem with the lyrics. I’m hoping to soon review a song where that doesn’t occur. But really, I just can’t help but advise people to use the word “infected” in regards to love. It just sounds like you’re one of those disgusting gay men who go around wilfully infecting themselves with sexually transmitted infections (yes, that’s a real thing). After all, she is shacked up with Russell Brand now, so her getting an STI would really not be too far-fetched, but I generally like to think that Ke$ha more or less has that market covered in the pop spectrum. Also, “fill me with your poison”? REALLY? I did NOT want to know about your alien lover’s poisonous jizz, Katy Perry! She deserves ridicule for actually being willing to sing the line, “Wanna feel your powers, stun me with your lasers.” Seriously.
So yeah, this seems like a song Rihanna might have made and then realised (EVEN RIHANNA REALISED) that it was a bit dated and tacky. It sounds what some douchebag music exec would’ve thought was the ultimate future of pop music in 2003. Like some sort of unholy spawn concocted in a cesspit of hell with the reproductive fluids of t.A.t.U, will.i.am and an under-sexed, hormonal 16 year old girl with liberal access to GarageBand.
BUT IT’S SUPER POPULAR, SO WHAT DO I KNOW?