#2: Katy PerryCalifornia Gurls The first time I heard this song:I was in the shower, where I expose myself in a safe clean environment to the unstable isotopes of new pop music. Someone’s doing a cheap Katy Perry rip-off, I thought. And that’s a pretty good Snoop Dogg impression. Oh. That is Snoop and Perry. The last time I heard this song:I wonder how much two weeks of sunshine contributed to this being #1. Miles is right, its stabs at eroticism are a bit rubbish. It succeeds away from that stuff, on the sheer celebratory ‘isn’t everything great’ front. Miles and Edgar Wright are wrong about the popsicle melting bit, though. That’s brilliant. The best bit is where Snoop says stuff and Katy replies, in uber-autotuned robot voice (“Katy, my lady” “Yeahhh” “You lookin’ here baby?” “Uh huh”). California is one of those common recurring pop motifs (see: California Love, California Dreamin’, Californication, uh …. California). I’d really like to go and see if it’s all that, actually. I hope this isn’t #1 again next week. It was perfect for this amount of time but it’s not a three-weeker. Also I’m running out of things to say.
#1: Katy PerryCalifornia Gurls Katy Perry, whatever you might think of her, is certainly an efficient pop star. She appears, here and there, just enough to keep her name famous. She chooses her collaboratiosn wisely – Timbaland, 3oh!3, now Snoop Dogg? This girl knows what she’s doing. And I retain a soft spot for the girl who sings things like “Daisy Dukes with bikinis on top.”* In a world where even Christina Aguilera is experimenting with edgier music, she’s the female Justin Timberlake, the money-making business-woman embodiment of pop. She looks like the girl from 90210 who looks like a cheap replica of Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction. It’s almost exactly the flip side of Snoop Dogg’s guest vocals on the Gorillaz’s Plastic Beach. The California tourist board must having an absolute field day with its endorsements. The song’s name is spelt stupidly… But, hell, it just works. You’re likely to be looking at me down your nose right now, but there’s a sense that Perry knows exactly how far she can push things. That, if you’re attuned to the right pop sensibility, Perry will never betray you. In an alternative, better universe of the UK, something else is #1: Robyn, maybe. That’s the same UK where we’re not all in mourning about the football right now, one way or the other. But California Gurls is perfect in-shower music, the kind of song you’re just happy to come on while you rub shampoo into those follicles, or while you drive from A to B. It’s a lower level of pop, maybe, but it’s that pop perfected. Some people, no doubt, wish they could all be California Gurls. *An expression I understand, for no logical reason, to mean hot pants and a bikini top. If this is confirmed to be true, then something magic is happening within the work of Ms Perry. She might in fact be a witch.