Katy Perry

Cultural Appropriation Is the Last Resort of the Lazy Pop Star

There’s been a predictable Internet shitstorm about the cringe-inducing video for Avril Lavigne’s “Hello Kitty,” three-and-a-quarter minutes of cultural cluelessness that make Katy Perry’s VMA performance look like a nuanced examination of Orientalism and the changing nature of East/West cultural interchange since the abolition of the Sakoku policy in 1853. The Lavigne video is awful, obviously — it’s a sort of checklist of idiotic Japanese stereotypes, including candy stores, cupcakes, sake, sushi, random Japanese phrases (“Kawaii! Arigato!”), and, of course, four identikit Harajuku dancers who get used as silent stage decoration.(There’s also the curious fact that Lavigne appears to be wearing some sort of colored contacts in the video, that seem designed to accentuate just how blue her eyes are — although if anything, they end up making her look like an extra from David Lynch’s Dune who’s hit the spice a bit too hard.) It’s all like a budget knock-off of Gwen Stefani circa 2004, only without the Neptunes/Nellee Hooper production and the hooks. … Read More

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Lady Gaga: Do What U Want, Except “Tell Men What To Do”

Earlier this week, in what I can only hope was a throwaway comment, Lady Gaga gave some bad relationship advice.

Speaking about being submissive to her boyfriend, actor Taylor Kinney, Gaga told Sirius XM’s The Morning Mash Up that “he’s totally in charge.” “I mean, when I am home, I am like, shoes are off, I’m making him dinner,” she continued. “He has a job, too, and he is really busy!” … Read More

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Kylie Minogue, the Unknowable Pop Star

Although it’s only March, I am almost certain Kylie Minogue’s “Into the Blue” is the best mainstream pop song of 2014. It’s the perfect mix of light and dark: an angelic voice proseletizing positivity and self-sufficiency, a pulsating beat providing a hard undercurrent, and a dramatic string section to boot. And yet, “Into the Blue” is nowhere to be found on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, the industry barometer of America’s most popular songs based on radio play, streaming services, YouTube, and hard-earned downloads. Why? … Read More

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Why Iggy Azalea’s ‘Clueless’ Remake Is Pop’s Greatest Love Letter to the 1990s

The 1990s as inspiration is, at this point, so ubiquitous it’s mundane. So instead of adding her own take to the pile, Aussie rapper Iggy Azalea took a different approach with her new video for “Fancy”: She made a shot-for-shot homage to Clueless, casting herself in the lead role of Cher Horowitz. By not trying to pass off the ’90s trend as her own creation, Iggy succeeds in having fun with it — and grabbing attention. … Read More

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Clean Person Jolie Kerr’s Cleaning Advice to Pop Culture Icons

For years, when I’ve found myself in sticky domestic situations — clogged toilets, red wine spills, and, well, red wine vomit — I’ve turned to my friend Jolie Kerr. She’s always given me the best advice on how to clean up after myself and feel like a real grownup — and done so without shaming me (I mean, who hasn’t thrown up red wine?). She began to put her handy advice to good use at The Hairpin, in her column “Ask a Clean Person,” which now runs on Jezebel and Deadspin under the moniker “Squalor.” Her columns have proved the need for a friendly, down-to-earth, judgement-free advice-giver, and today sees the publication of her ultimate cleaning manual: My Boyfriend Barfed in My Handbag… and Other Questions You Can’t Ask Martha. … Read More

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Katy Perry’s New Video Reveals Queen Cleopatra’s Guilty Pleasure: Hot Cheetos

However politically incorrect and unpalatable she may be, one has to laud Katy Perry’s unabashed form of appropriation.… Read More

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CBS’s Unwatchable Anniversary Special Illustrates How Not to Celebrate 50 Years of the Beatles

Last weekend marked the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ arrival in America and their initial, ratings-shattering performance on The Ed Sullivan Show. You may have heard about this anniversary. It’s been mentioned a few times! The half-centennial came to a head last night on CBS, which aired The Night That Changed America: A Grammy Salute to the Beatles, a two-and-a-half-hour mixture of documentary tribute and performance footage. The performances were reportedly culled from a four-hour concert the night after this year’s Grammys; one can only imagine what was left on the cutting room floor, considering the depressingly disastrous stuff that aired. … Read More

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Katy Perry’s Supremely Clueless AMA Performance Is Everything That’s Wrong With America’s Relationship to Asian Culture

Another awards ceremony, another “controversial” pop star performance. This time around it was Katy Perry, whose appearance at the American Music Awards last night set the Internet afire with outrage because of its absurd depiction of Japanese culture: cherry blossoms, taiko drummers, kimono-clad backing dancers, and Perry herself dressed as a geisha. Sigh. … Read More

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“Hard Out Here” Proves Lily Allen Is the Pop Star We Need in 2013

Back in the mid-aughts, Lily Allen brought a lot of hype and promise across the pond to the US with her first album, Alright, Still. Produced by a then-underappreciated Mark Ronson, Allen was poised to become the anti-female pop star; a direct opposite to the oversexed, Auto-Tuned princesses ushered onto the charts in the late ’90s, her brand of ska- and reggae-inspired pop songs embodied a charm and wit that was sadly absent in the music of her American contemporaries. But despite the critical acclaim and brief commercial success, Allen didn’t achieve the success of, say, Amy Winehouse or Adele, who eclipsed her with their big voices and big sounds. … Read More

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‘Breaking Bad: The Opera,’ ‘Of Mice’ and James Franco: Links You Need to See

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Courtney Love is not too keen on either Miley Cyrus or Katy Perry. Would Breaking Bad make as brilliant an opera as it did a television show? Maybe, but only if it includes an aria from Jesse Pinkman filled with as many occurrences of “bitch” as possible. (Spoiler: it… Read More

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