Review Summary: Katy Perry became famous with her hit song, "I Kissed a Girl". Now that she's become famous from those three minutes of sensationalism, you'd think she would try to write more meaningful music. You would think...
Unless you’ve been living under a rock (in which case, I envy you), you most likely know about how Katy Perry came out of nowhere, and made it onto the top of the charts with one song: “I Kissed a Girl”, an ode to experimental lesbianism to end them all. When it came out, everybody loved it. It was on the radio constantly. Every dance I went to ended up playing it. Rolling Stone ranked it the 20th best song of 2008. You wanna know what I thought of, after first hearing it? Suicide.
Don’t get me wrong; I have nothing against homosexuality. But, Katy Perry isn’t a lesbian, and the song isn’t about homosexuality. The song is about the same thing you see on commercials for Girls Gone Wild. It’s misogynistic, sensationalist and, to me, very offensive. But, two years after “I Kissed a Girl”, Katy Perry is still reigning as one of the biggest pop singers in the world. “Hot n Cold”, released a few months after “I Kissed a Girl”, was one of the biggest singles of 2009. And, oddly enough, I actually liked “Hot n Cold” quite a bit. The thing I liked about it was that it didn’t rely on the shock-value that made “I Kissed a Girl” and “Ur So Gay” into hits. “Hot n Cold” is the closest that Perry has come to making a great pop song. I began to hope that, maybe, she could release a good follow-up album.
“California Gurls” was the first single to be released from Teenage Dream, Perry’s second album. I began to feel my hope begin to deteriorate. It’s bad enough that she stole the title from a much better song, but this is way more offensive than anything she’s released, so far. She sings about wearing skanky clothes, having sex on the beach, and even brings Snoop Dogg in for a verse. Misogyny galore, I thought that Katy’d written her worst song, yet.
If only that were the case. Much like how I thought that Kesha couldn’t make a song worst than “Tik Tok”, I gave Katy a bit more credit than she deserves. I hadn’t yet heard “Peacock”.
Bringing up Kesha again, when I heard “Dinosaur” earlier this year, I hoped to God that it would be the worst song of the year. Because, if there could be a worst song released this year than that piece of shit, then music could pretty much be declared fucked. Well, I guess we better start with the declaring, because “Peacock” is about twenty times worst than “Dinosaur”. “Dinosaur” sounds like “Hey Jude” compared to “Peacock”. It sounds like fucking “Like a Rolling Stone” compared to “Peacock”. If “Peacock” isn’t the worst song I’ve ever heard, it’s definitely in the top ten.
Katy repeats the phrase “I wanna see your peacock” through a lot of the song, which isn’t clever or subtle. I’d have a lot more respect for her if she’d just said “I wanna see your cock”, because then it’d be at least a quarter less idiotic.
Still, the album does have some catchy tracks. “Hummingbird Heartbeat” could be a great song, just by melody alone, “The One That Got Away” is just about the closest she has come to any emotional depth, and even “California Gurls” could be a good song, if it weren’t for the lyrics. The only song where I actually liked the lyrics was her attempt at a ballad, “Not Like the Movies”, a song so boring that it nearly put me to sleep.
And, that’s yet another problem with the album: the tracks with the less-terrible lyrics are usually very bland, or just annoying, musically. “E.T.” doesn’t have great lyrics, but they aren’t awful. And, yet, it’s one of the less memorable songs on the album due to the irritating beat. I would think that the more bland the melody, the more she would have to resort to shock-value. But, I guess not.
The thing that bums me out about Katy Perry the most is that she is not untalented. Just listening to a lot of the vocal performances on this album fills me with admiration, and I really wish she would make an entire album full of “Hot n Cold”s. But, until then, I can’t respect her at all. I can’t respect her, because the fact that she needs to resort to stupid lyrics like “I wanna see your peacock” represents a lack of confidence in herself, which makes me just not want to listen. Even my personal favorite track, “Last Friday Night”, speaks of streaking and menage a trois. I really wish Aaliyah was still alive; she wouldn’t have let this happen.