On the day her new album hit stores, Katy Perry stopped by the Ed Sullivan Theater for an interview and a performance of the title-track, “Teenage Dream.” It’s all pretty uneventful, only adding to my confusion about all the critics who’ve been bending over backwards to say nice things about her this summer. If you only could have seen my Twitter feed the day this song hit the internet. First there was the requisite “is it wrong that I like the new Katy Perry song?” stuff, which is, of course, completely disingenuous, meant only to flaunt non-rockist tendencies. But then so many people reacted similarly that it just sort of became fact: critics suddenly love Katy Perry.
They love her hooks, they love her youthfulness, they love that she chooses her producers and writing partners wisely, and they love how straightforward and uncomplicated she is. They love all of that so much that they forget to mention that she’s a dreadful performer, that her voice is as woefully affected, that she’s a grown woman who puts on the most serious, dramatic face you’ve ever seen while singing consistently stupid lyrics about wearing tight jeans. They forget that she became famous because of a hateful song about using homosexuality as a form of rebellion. They forget that if a dude tried to pull the same thing, they wouldn’t even waste time talking shit about it because it would just be understood. Have you seen anyone jumping to extol the virtues of the far more talented Justin Bieber?
The genuinely guilty pleasure needs to make a comeback, and fast, because as it stands now, we’ve involved in a years-long game of intellectual acrobatics, where it seems we’re just trying to see who can come up with the best defense for the dumbest thing, and it’s completely unproductive.