Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Katy Perry’s Roar is reprehensible.

I listen to the radio in the car*. Most of the time it’s on a news station, but nearly as often it’s on a music station. Since there isn’t a good college radio station with a respectable signal in town, I have to settle for Top 40. That means that I have to wade through a lot of Blurred Lines** to get to one Get Lucky***.

Now, I could be a snob and say that the music is terrible, over-produced and lacking substance. Actually, I just did. But that’s not entirely true. There are some well written, well sung songs on the radio that are damn catchy and upbeat—which is all I really expect from Top 40 radio anyway.

But there is one song that is unforgivable on the radio. It’s a song that only exists—so obviously only exists—to make money.

Katy Perry’s Roar.

This is pop music at its most exploitative. It is woefully lazy, shows nothing but contempt for the audience and is insulting. It's not even bold enough to have an original thought. If this were a songwriting class assignment, it would fail miserably. But since it’s attached to a mega-star, it’s supposedly acceptable.

Here are the song’s lyrics. I’ve crossed out all of the clichés, tropes and otherwise familiar metaphors and similes that have already been used by other, more talented performers. The non-lined out lyrics aren’t exactly Shakespeare.

I used to bite my tongue and hold my breath
Scared to rock the boat and make a mess
So I sat quietly, agreed politely
I guess that I forgot I had a choice
I let you push me past the breaking point
I stood for nothing, so I fell for everything

You held me down, but I got up (HEY!)

Already brushing off the dust
You hear my voice, you hear that sound
Like thunder gonna shake the ground
You held me down, but I got up (HEY!)
Get ready cause I’ve had enough
I see it all, I see it now


I got the eye of the tiger, a fighter, dancing through the fire
Cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me roar
Louder, louder than a lion****
Cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me roar
Oh oh oh oh oh oh
Oh oh oh oh oh oh
Oh oh oh oh oh oh
You’re gonna hear me roar

Now I’m
floating like a butterfly
Stinging like a bee
I earned my stripes
I went from zero, to my own hero

You get the point, and the song repeats, so I’ll spare you the r-r-r-rest.

Why should I even waste my time discussing it? Because if we just sit there and let it play on the radio, then the people who manufactured it will just spoon feed us more of the same. Just recycle lyrics from better songs that actually made us feel some emotion beyond the heavy sigh of defeat that comes from worn-out resignation.

So the next time Katy Perry threatens to make you hear her roar, don’t let her. Change the station. Because you are a champion and oh oh oh oh oh.

*If I use the CD player, the ABS light comes on. I know enough about cars to know that’s not supposed to happen.
**Enough already!
***IMO the true song of the summer 2013
****Seriously, pick an animal! Tiger or lion, they both roar.