Confessions: Adventures in the Awesomely Awful
Katy Perry
We all have them: guilty pleasures. Those shows we don't tell our friends we watch, those movies we see over and over when we don't want to think, the books we hide under our beds. In Confessions, I try to explore what makes these particular pop-culture gems so compelling, and try to exorcise some of the bad mojo that surrounds them.

I have this problem with my i-Tunes library, which I've noticed more and more often these days. The bulk of my choices are prolifically sad, depressing, angsty, heavy, etc. etc. I chalk this up mostly to my love of songwriters and people who play actual instruments, as well as my generally maudlin personality.

But there is a time and place for seriousness and sadness. And that time and place is definitely not Friday nights when I'm bouncing around my apartment, getting ready for a blithe night out with my roommates. At times like these (and, usually, the morning after, when someone or another needs to get over an emotional hangover just as sizable as the one induced by alcohol), I want something loud, fast, and bubblegum. It's the only time autotune doesn't make me want to gag.

For a while, my obvious go-to for these kind of evenings was Lady Gaga. The glitz, the glamour, the amazingly catchy choruses that stayed with me all night and usually wound up getting sung aloud a few drinks in. But then GaGa started taking herself much too seriously (I introduced the GaGa Phenomenon in my first Confessions piece). The music has become harsh and I cannot surrender to the mindless pleasure of the spectacle when I am increasingly disturbed by what GaGa was (or, more often, wasn't) wearing at some event. I admire Lady GaGa's politics, and her unspoken advocacy for equality. But I'm not going to lie: when I went to GaGa, it was for distraction and release. And I really do believe the music has suffered since she's made herself a crusader ("Edge of Glory" has got absolutely nothing on "Paparazzi").

So these days, I've turned to an equally fluorescently and thankfully much more mindless equivalent: Katy Perry.

Since her 2008 breakout album One of the Boys , with tracks like the inescapable "I Kissed a Girl," and her powerhouse follow-up Teenage Dream , Katy Perry has provided a mainline of super-pop hits that make my IQ drop (hopefully temporarily) with each listen. Tracks like "Hot N' Cold," "Waking Up in Vegas," "One of the Boys," "Teenage Dream," "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F)," California Gurls," "Firework," and "E.T." have fueled her career as music's most recognizable brand of coke.

Katy Perry's neon-colored, completely ridiculous wardrobe, paired with her tendency to bellow out a chorus more addictive than a narcotic substance, makes her perfect weekend fare. This is the music I want to yell out when I'm dancing uncoordinatedly with a bunch of girl friends, completely unguarded on how incredibly foolish we look. And with chorus's like Teenage Dream's "Lets go all the way tonight/No regrets, just love/We can dance until we die/You and I, we'll be young forever," it isn't a difficult task.

Another great thing about Katy Perry: she never takes herself too seriously to make herself the butt of the joke. Her videos are ridiculous, she's loud and makes fun of herself and her persona in interviews, SNL skits, and more. It doesn't hurt that she churns out new music at a breakneck speed, as if acknowledging that it's the kind of shallow stuff that we're bound to get sick of quickly. I swear, from weekend to weekend when my roommate asks me if I heard the new Katy Perry song, I can't help but feel old and out of touch when I say yes and she plays something completely different than what I was expecting. Before we can come down off that KP high, she gives us another hit. She's saccharine and sweet with some raunch thrown in. Which is what makes her music so great sometimes. Because, as with everything, moderation is key. And as long as I avoid over-indulging on Katy Perry music and sending myself into some kind of diabetic/narcotic coma, I don't feel at all guilty about having some Katy Perry filed away between the critically acclaimed and otherwise respectable music that makes up my typical listening.

Look, Jordan! I managed to write quite a bit more than the one word you recommended would perfectly complete this column: Boobs.

Hooked? Check out more Confessions: Adventures in the Awesomely Awful here

comments powered by Disqus