The Problem With... Katy Perry's "California Gurls"
Every few years, we all hear songs about California that define that state for a few years until the next. Back in the '90s, it was Tupac and Dr. Dre's "California Love." Last decade, it was "California" by Phantom Planet. Hell, there is a laundry list of iconic songs about the state.
Katy Perry's "California Gurls" is setting out to be the next California theme song. Let's see how it measures up to the rest...
Last time I heard Katy was a couple of years ago when she blew onto the scene with her hit, "I Kissed A
The song might have been provocative had I not been in college at the time--among Ani DiFranco's tunes and girls kissing other girls to make a titillating statement, it all felt a little passe, actually.
Anyway, Katy wrote the song "California Gurls" apparently as a West Coast answer to "Empire State of Mind," because there weren't enough songs repping for California. She's apparently unfamiliar with the songs we already listed. Or the countless others, I guess.
But, regardless, what about the music?
Ah. Well, the house-music keys and beat sound suspiciously like another song that "TiKs" me off to no end. Katy tends to show up in some places with that dollar-sign girl, too, so the derivative sound is not surprising. But every line in the track is a cliché--"where the grass is really greener," "sex on the beach" and so on. The most egregious call out of all, though? Her "Daisy Dukes" references in the chorus.
Hate to break it to you, Katy, but that started right here in the South.
In short: This whole thing's yet another vain appropriation, folks.
Plus, the track's chorus and build contains my biggest peeve of pop music writing: a full line of interjections--in this case, "Oh, ooooh."
As for her special guest on the track? I don't want to rail too much on Snoop for his appearance here because his singles off Malice n Wonderland were pretty awesome. Still, showing up on this track was a bad choice. If I were Snoop, I'd be pissed at someone throwing out my name. Lets just hope that the handle "Smoke Monster" doesn't catch on. Because, well, Lost is over, and I don't want to hear any more about it.
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