Two of the biggest superstars in the world had two of the biggest musical fails this week, as Katy Perry and Lady Gaga released two singles that tarnish whatever reputations they had as solid songwriters. Perry completely ripped off a lesser-known singer, and Gaga released a barely intelligible track all about revering her.
But Gaga's new album, ARTPOP, is still destined to have some great tracks on it, since Gaga always keeps people guessing by switching up melodies and genres, even within the same album. As for Perry, she's completely lost the respect of at least one hardcore fan.
Perry built up a lot of hype surrounding her just-released "Roar," from sending around a massive gold truck bearing the Prism name of her upcoming album, to leaking the hair-metal-inspired cover art. Ke$ha has already been there, done that with the art direction of her latest album, Warrior. This was just the first copycat move by Perry.
When the track dropped, something about it seemed eerily familiar. About four months ago, Sara Bareilles (you know, the "Love Song" lady) released "Brave" (also 92.5 beats per minute and with nearly identical verse melodies). It's impossible to tell the songs apart. How can a musical faux pas like this happen, and why would Perry's camp decide to make "Roar" the first impression fans have of Prism? Sure, the melody is catchy, but could her highly paid co-songwriters really not come up with anything original? Are they really dumb enough to think they could release the song and get away unscathed from criticism?
It's really sad. When Perry debuted into the pop world with her album One of the Boys, she boasted songwriting credits on most of the album's songs, from the emotive acoustic guitar-powered "Thinking of You" to the fun and glitzy "Waking Up in Vegas." The songwriting on that album really came from the heart and showed off Perry's human side, that she was just like one of us, a gal who gets her heartbroken and does dumb things in Vegas.
Her next album, Teenage Dream, started to show the signs of a sell-out. Perry unnecessarily sexed up her image, blasting whipped cream from her breasts and singing about penises. The outfits got increasingly skimpy, not like the cool vintage fashion of the early days that really gave her character.
She seemed desperate to compete with younger stars such as Selena Gomez and even Gaga, getting weirder in fashion choices (remember the yellow cube on her head at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards?) and fluffier in her lyrics. "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)" sounded like a dumbed-down Ke$ha -- as if you could even go that far. And now, with a chance to redeem herself and really establish herself as a mature songwriter rather than simply someone who wants to sing about losing her virginity, Perry has sparked outrage around the world.
Poor Bareilles -- at least she's getting more publicity now, though somehow Perry fans have still managed to nearly propel her song to number one spots around the world. There's no doubt "Roar" is catchy, and the message is pretty darn uplifting, about standing up for yourself.
But Perry's camp's rip-off of "Brave" is inexcusable. Instead of purchasing "Roar," people should buy a copy of "Brave," to pay the true songwriter what she deserves. Perry has a long way to go to get this fan smiling for her again.
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