On Saturday Night Livethe May 20 season finale, Katy Perry had trouble finding his voice. While it’s true that pop music is a ruthless and sometimes brutal blood sport where artists are regularly forced to evolve their sound and style or risk being tossed into the gray trashcan overflowing with yesterday’s thrills, the native of California appeared to be in desperate shape. Gone is the bubbly, witty and sometimes self-deprecating brunette who began her professional career in 2001 as a virginal contemporary Christian music singer before reaching pop superstar heights.
In her place stood a barely recognizable static individual: Katy Perry had become the last white pop group seeking to reinvent themselves on the back of black urban culture. It was a special performance for sure. the Nicki Minaj-with “Swish Swish”, a nod to 90s house music bliss (Minaj, who wasn’t in the building, can be heard on record responding to Remy Ma“SHEther,” the damaging diss track of “SHEther,” a somewhat muted response that continues the rap queen’s recent penchant for hiding behind collaborators), was derailed by her presentation of the company’s starter kit. drag club culture as the Internet Backpack Kid’s guilty pleasure eclipsed Perry.
The struggling performer then continued with the sterile “Bon Appétit”, assisted by the gods of trap music from Atlanta. migos (Pixie-haired Perry’s laughable attempt to play the hype woman for “Bad and Boujee” troubadours has now become a meme.) All parts seemed to have better places to be.
At the end of this whole cringe-worthy ordeal, you wondered: What happened to Katy Perry? And why did the pop protagonist of the good girl who got a little bad, who first arrived on the pop music scene in 2008, feel the need to darken things up?
At the time, it was easy to root for Perry, who made his secular debut with the cut slyly titled “I Kissed a Girl.” The newcomer had found herself atop the Billboard charts for seven straight weeks with the obscenely catchy, happy, PG-13-rated ode to bi-curious experimentation. Katy Perry’s breakthrough single was a cool ’80s new wave, a mellow, winky number and a rocking Trojan horse all rolled into one. “I kissed a girl and I liked it / The taste of her cherry ChapStick,” she cooed shyly. Moments of pleasure.
His 2008 album, One of the boys — which went on to sell 7 million copies worldwide — solidified the burgeoning singer-songwriter as a new breed of pop star. If Lady Gaga (who made her album debut the same year as the “Hot n Cold” talent) was a funnier, darker mirror of Madonna, Perry was a modern-day Cyndi Lauper without the muscle pipes. Cool but corny; sober but sexy.
By his third and fourth studio albums (2010s teenage dream and 2013 Prism), Perry had pretty much settled into her role as the empowering pop heroine who wasn’t above telling a corny joke. On radio favorites like “Waking Up in Vegas,” the aforementioned “Teenage Dream,” “Firework,” “Last Friday Night” and “Wide Awake,” she never came off as a pretentious slut begging for sex. be taken seriously as an artist. Yes, she could strum a guitar and proved to be a devious good songwriter, but Perry never did as much as her rival. Taylor Swiftor justin bieber Besides.
But more importantly, when the hug collaborated with hip-hop stars like Snoop Dogg (“Californian Chicks”), Kanye West (“AND”) and Juicy J (“Dark Horse”), everything was done on an equal footing, as david bowieexploring the soul of Philadelphia in the mid-70s. Watching Perry is confusing SNL showcase, it was hard to believe you were witnessing the same woman whose cheeky feel-good music once had a bar full of black people singing along with her anthemic fist pump of a hit “Roar.”
Perry made his majestic entrance on a 16-foot-tall mechanical lion to kick off the much-loved 2015 Super Bowl XLIX halftime show. Maybe the siblings dug into the fact that she seemed to be comfortable in her own skin: the “cool” white girl who didn’t mind dancing awkwardly with silly costumed sharks, never deviated a only once in his way.
In contrast, the stumbling drum to Perry’s upcoming fifth album Witness has so far been cowardly in its attempts to create a spark by injecting black girl magic. The fingertip of Twitter star Richey Collazo has been privy to the blatant ways in which white pop stars have co-opted black culture over the years. On social media, she shrewdly points out the connection between the restless singer and the artist formerly known as Hannah Montana, who is still rightfully stalked for publicly dismissing her past exploitation as a cultural vulture of hip-hop as a s it was a plastic fork.
“Me: Miley Cyrus needs to relax,” Collazo posted casually. “Y’all: It’s not Miley, it’s Katy Perry.”
It’s a sobering punchline.