Well, I’ve had a leave of absence. Let’s get cracking with a Radio Rant to celebrate my good return, shall we?
‘kay, just gonna open up the ol’ Billboard Top 10, and…hm.
Really? I’m gone for a freaking week, and another Katy Perry song went to number 1? I’d veto this down right the hell now, but the only top 5 song I haven’t touched yet is by Bruno Mars, who is 0 for 2 on making a good impression on me. And the rest of the top 10 is…well, not now. Fine. You guys wanted to hear it, so here it is: Katy Perry’s…(oh, God) #1 hit, “Teenage Dream”.
Ok, so, it’s the follow-up to We-Wrote-This-As-A-Summer-Hit summer hit “California Gurls”; a silly-stupid but not-terrible cut of glossy electropop. How do they follow that up?Well, musically Perry seems to have remembered that the whole pop-rock thing on One of the Boys worked pretty well; in fact, the music sounds vaguely familiar to Katy’s first single “I Kissed a Girl”. Not really a bad thing, but the very slight edge “I Kissed a Girl” had has been filed down, and there’s no bite to this music at all.
The most obvious flaw in “Teenage Dream” is that it really shows Perry’s limits as a vocalist. I mean, she’s never been the worst singer around, but she gets really close to overextending herself on the verses here. Seriously, singing this song live will be a game of vocal Russian Roulette on if her voice cracks or not. There’s nothing wrong with reaching for a note, but when you’re overreaching this much, bad things can happen.
Guess I should talk about the chorus while I’m at it. Yeah, the “You. Make. Me. FeelLikeI’mLivingA. Teen. Age. Dream.” part still annoys the hell out of me, but at least she’s back in a range that’s comfortable to hear. I’d also like to point out that I hear that “whoosh” sound effect at the start of every chorus nowadays. And lyrically, there’s the whole “we’ll live forever, let’s runaway, there’s just love and happiness because we’re teenagers” thing, which apparently is the life of every teenager based on what culture tells us. Huh. I guess that was in mine, too…just mixed between the awkward growing, jilted hormones and emotions, poor self-image, stressful social relations, and trying to be an adult while lacking the maturity and growth.
Which brings me to the lyrics. At first I thought they were just kind of uninspired and bland, but now…well, you’ll see. Things start off innocently enough with Katy playing the cute girl-next-door card, saying lines like. “You think I’m pretty without any makeup on/You think I’m funny when I tell the punchline wrong”, and, “Every February you’ll be my valentine”. Then it gets to the, “Let’s go all the way tonight/No regrets, just love/We can dance until we die/You and I will be young forever” part. And that immortality and playful wrecklessness is pretty cool, but at the same time, it can lead you somewhere bad.
On a whole, I’ve never had a good impression on this song. “California Gurls” might have been dumber, but at least it was catchy. “Teenage Dream”, meanwhile, sounds like bad Kelly Clarkson with Katy trying too hard. Thank God we grow up.