Here’s what I know about Katy Perry: Her album One of the Boys went gold, her single “I Kissed a Girl” went double-platinum, and her boyfriend is Gym Class Heroes cutie Travis McCoy.
Here’s what I don’t know about Katy Perry: How any of this is remotely possible.
I know I’m not alone in my antipathy for Ms. Perry. Stephen Thomas Erlewine of allmusic.com wrote that she “distills every reprehensible thing about the age of The Hills into one pop album.”
My favorite blog, Go Fug Yourself, regularly berates her for deeming ensembles like a 1950s bathing suit and fishnets appropriate eveningwear.
And I’m sure Zooey Deschanel must hate Perry for taking her wide-eyed stare, raven locks, and pinup figure so far down market. How often must look-alike shots in Us Weekly or In Touch force Zooey to call up friends to say, “That wasn’t me! I would never wear purple stonewash jeans!”
But I can claim to be an old-school Perry hater. It began in 2004, when she told another music magazine, “I’m completely outrageous and I’ll do anything for attention!” This from the daughter of two pastors, who had already attempted to be a contemporary Christian music star, but whose debut didn’t skyrocket her to Michael W. Smith heights (despite Christianity Today calling her song”Growing Pains” “pure ear candy with the message that we’re being molded perpetually into Christ’s image”).
After that, she decided to give shock-pop a try — with or without Jesus’s help — and become “outrageous.”
Her dream came true in 2007 when she lit up Perez Hilton’s life with her texty single “Ur So Gay,” which some people who actually were gay found offensive and others who weren’t clueless found moronic. (H&M is “gay”? LOL!) In interviews, she tried to redeem herself with a Sarah Palin-ish claim to having tons of homosexual friends and then gave a writer for thenewgay.net the cryptic assurance, “I know gay men that are more of a man than some of the men I slept with.”This, in an interview in which she also compared her confessional writing to that of Holocaust victim Anne Frank.
Naturally, the follow-up to “Ur So Gay” would be “I Kissed a Girl.” Which was so shocking. Totally taboo. At least if you discount Jill Sobule’s same-titled song of 1995, which, unlike Perry’s, was both good and credible. Of course, after its release, Perry clarified that she has only smooched dudes — that her single was, in effect, a straight-up-the-middle “Girls Gone Wild” pitch to girl-on-girl fans across this great nation of ours.
I know this kind of thing is nothing new. Perry is almost designed to be a blip on the pop radar, and with luck she’ll be here and gone with the speed of an IM.But still I must ask, in Perry’s parlance, WTF? Why is she popular? Why did MTV ask her host the Europe Music Awards last week? And, more importantly, why did they let her wear a red football uniform and straddle an atomic bomb-size tube of cherry Chapstick? Why are people buying her album and not Zooey Deschanel’s?
I’m serious. Tell me. I’d like to know.
Watch: Katy Perry falling at the MTV Latin American Awards