There’s nothing much new or interesting in the charts at the moment, so I’m briefly breaking my promise to focus on male artists for a while to address the issue of Katy Perry, for the third time. Yes, she’s such a repeat offender, she’s getting her own damn category. A KATYgory, if you will!! Haha, we have fun here.
Look, I get her shtick. I think. Wait, no, I don’t, because it oscillates so wildly between all sorts of batshit extremes that it’s impossible to pin it down. The thing with pop stars is that they need a shtick: Lady Gaga and her wacky fashion and bizarre music videos, Britney Spears with her mild sluttiness, Ke$ha with her all-out sluttiness, Rihanna with her Caribbean sluttiness, Beyoncé with her strong independent black woman thing, Adele with her fat girl who got rejected thing. Katy Perry? Well, one minute, she’s the playful bubblegum pop lady in California Girls, the next, she’s the alien hooker in E.T. Is she silly and self-effacing or serious and a bit whacked out? Then you’ve got Firework which, well, the less said about it the better. So in which direction does Last Friday Night try and pull her?
I’ve talked so much about female artists, I’ve decided that my next few reviews will solely be male artists. Truthfully, this is because talking about women representing their own sexuality is a lot easier, because it’s a push/pull situation. On one hand, there has to be some level of sexual progressiveness; on the other, how do you do that tastefully and appropriately for the wide-ranging audiences pop songs reach?
Men in pop has become very interesting in recent years. It used to be that you could point to NSYNC or The Backstreet Boys or Justin Timberlake and say, “That’s a dude doing pop. That’s what’s happening.” It’s not quite so clear anymore. This is – at least in part – due to the fact that pop is barely pop anymore. It’s essentially a bastardised amalgam of RnB, dance, house, and a splash of pop itself. Obviously this has always been the case, but suddenly the recipe has changed. Rather than three cups of sugar, we’re putting in half a cup, and so forth (good news for diabetes sufferers!). This is just the nature of musical progression – essentially, we’ll like what they tell us to like.