Two of pop's most reviled (by critics) and popular (to people somewhere) ladies released some content this week. Kesha's "Sleazy" leaked today, while Katy Perry released a new video for her song "Firework."
So different in mien, so similar in milieu; so where in the 'twain?
[jump] Both are self-sustaining pop stars in the present moment, both are unabashedly hated by "serious music folk," both seem blissfully out of contact (as any good pop star should, right?), both lack the baffling acceptability of Lady Gaga, both are considered less than brilliant. So basically they have the same things in common as everyone else who isn't Lady Gaga. So what do they got?
"Rata tat tat on your dumb dumb drum / The beat's so phat gonna make me cum"
"Leaked" today (her label, or Kesha herself, were undoubtedly behind it), "Sleazy" comes off her second full-length Cannibal, scheduled for release on November 22. Kesha is universally reviled by critics - and currently sitting at the tippy-top of the iTunes Top Songs chart with her song "We R Who We R" - for her style, or her music, or her voice, or her face, but probably for all of it. Her rhymes are weak, her voice is grating, and the image she's cultivated as a skeezy, money-eschewing coked-out club chick is both fact and fiction; the music business is a tough one nowadays, but Kesha is in the 1% club, selling singles and albums like hotcakes and making Sony and herself plenty of money. So a pop star is faking it? Get out.
Throwing her vocal Dippin' Dots at a dubstep-flecked, semi-interesting but predicti-banger, Kesha is in full Nicki Minaj regalia here: affected accents, twisted pronunciation, onomatopoeic flourishes - except without Minaj's originality, verve, and searing Minaj-ness. Everything Kesha puts out is going to be hated by the "establishment" (the blogs people actually read) and bought by everyone else. That doesn't make it right, but it does outline the critical domain in 2010: shit that doesn't sell. The choir room.
Katy Perry, "Firework"
Everything written about Katy Perry in the last month (since her banishment from Sesame Street) has revolved around her giant breasts and how there they are. They're so there. So for "Firework" she went downright demure in a nice English countryside dress, working the well-worn pop trope of beautiful, tangentially-talented star casting pearls of optimism at the swine of the hoi polloi, whilst fireworks pop out of their chestal regions. It's tempting to say "their titties" here, but it's so obviously their hearts guys. She's alighting their hearts.
After getting a little American Beauty in the first line ("Do you ever feel like a plastic bag / drifting through the wind / wanting to start again?"), she helps a child chemo patient watch a live human birth, and a zaftig young wallflower pop her clothes off and get wet. It's what we all want: to just feel something. Anything. Please.