One Of The Boys
‘I Kissed A Girl’ has blown a shitstorm through the liberal and conservative press in America (is it homophobic? Is it homosexual?).
While normally that’s a cause for celebration, ‘One Of The Boys’ confirms that Perry is no genuine provocateur, rather another ambitious woman reared on a childhood of church performance. Like Beyoncé and Christina, she clearly fell more deeply in love with the spotlight than Christianity and has become the perfect peg to fit in America’s gaping starlet-hole. Britney’s Chernobyl has changed America’s chart needs, and this self-aware 23-year-old now offers nostalgic, contrived controversy rather than Spears’ awkwardly reality-based disaster. By kissing a girl, Perry offered a country complicit in Spears’ transformation from angel to slut a new pariah to love and hate.
Visually marketed somewhere between Juno and Dita Von Teese, in reality Perry is about as alternative as a Bratz doll with a safety pin through its nose. Beyond the well-produced guff of ‘I Kissed A Girl’ and previous divisive single ‘UR So Gay’ – a cynically contrived ‘attack’ on indie boys that sounds like The Moldy Peaches reimagined by Mathew Knowles – this record is unremarkably dire. It’s as mundanely malevolent as stepping in a turd or getting stung by a bee. It won’t kill you, but only because this generation is now immune to this strain of guitar pap after the Paramore epidemic of 2007.
The title track’s tale of Katy’s journey into womanhood (FYI ladies: shave your legs, make out with some dudes and you’re in the sisterhood) may make Fergie look like Valerie Solanas, but it gleams with sincerity compared to the nonsensical proactive glamour of ‘Waking Up In Vegas’. ‘Thinking Of You’ is a ballad with all the emotional subtlety of a flamethrower while ‘If You Can Afford Me’ is essentially a sexless ‘Bills Bills Bills’. How this crap can be battery-fed to the nation’s young when there’s pop artists as thrilling as Ladyhawke recording today is beyond comprehension.
Perry’s problem is often her voice: yes she has a good range, but somewhere along the line someone convinced her she was like, well, a ballsy rock chick, and now she explodes across this album like Xena Warrior Princess on fire.
Madonna and Perez Hilton may be fans, then, but if you’ve got even a passing interest in actually enjoying a record, don’t buy this one.
To read all our reviews first - days before they appear online - check out NME magazine, on sale every Wednesday