Listening to this CD, I wonder what people fifty years from now will think about the songs here. If Pink is the Janis Joplin of the Bieber generation, does this mean that Katy Perry is the Chrissie Hynde of this modern age? Of course, Ms Perry’s generous curves and conventional looks are as far as one can get from the handsome and more subtle sensuality of Ms Hynde, but there’s a very sanitized mischievous vibe to the tracks here that seem tailor-made for kids who are only starting to enter puberty.
Not that things are raunchy in any way here. The CD cover of Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream, a couple of “fuck” peppering Circle the Drain, and the use of the phrase “ménage à trois” to rhyme with “bars” in Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.) are easily the most risqué things about this otherwise PG-13 collection of disposable fluffy tunes. But there is an undeniably naughty vibe to catchy tunes like these two that is the closest to soft porn that any kid with no access to the Internet can get. Knowing that many of these randy kids will probably never get laid due to various issues, Ms Perry thoughtfully tells them to accept their physical imperfections in Firework even as she flaunts her sun-kissed gym-honed body in her music videos. Even fat kids need love, but those fat kids can sit that corner, near but not too near us popular and beautiful people, thank you very much.
Listening to this CD, I also wonder how long Ms Perry intends to keep up the charade that she is as young as the target audience of her music. She is at least ten years older than the young people she populate around her in her music videos, and it really shows. She’s gorgeous and she has a banging body, but she’s Lorelai Gilmore attending the Stars Hollow High School reunion – the hot aunt rather than the popular cheerleader. Aside from the humiliatingly puerile and insipid Peacock, the songs here are well-produced ear candy that, with some tuning and lyrical revision, could be made to adults as well, I feel. Circle the Drain, Hummingbird, and The One That Got Away are actually pretty good tunes that may be cool for folks over 21 if they aren’t the way they are now.
Maybe one day, Ms Perry will make the transition to musical adulthood. Or maybe not. Until then, this one is a pretty good example of musical guilty pleasure. It’s not cool to admit liking this one, but there’s no shame bopping to the songs when there’s no one watching.