Saturday, May 8, 2010

Katy Perry ft. Snoop Dogg - "California Gurls" (Single Review)

On her Facebook page on Friday, pop-rock ingenue Katy Perry unveiled a new, ultra-timely track (and accompanying cover art) entitled "California Gurls," an upbeat celebration of West Coast femininity featuring a delightful rap from certified Los Angelino Snoop Dogg.

The song is a refreshing departure from the plethora of New York love-in seen in the music world (as in many other areas) since September 11 (while for a while it seemed natural to sing "New York State of Mind" and "New York New York" as tribute to the iconic city's fallen, but Madonna's "I Love New York" in 2005 and particularly the Jay-Z/Alicia Keys hit "Empire State of Mind" seemed to be pushing the term to some of us over here). What happened to the days of "California Dreamin'" when we wished they all could be California girls and the city of L.A. knew how to party? Time will tell if Perry (a Santa Barbara-born California girl) and Snoop (an outspoken fan of L.A. and a self-confessed former member of the Crips, a gang in South Los Angeles) are able to bring the wave of affection Westward, as it seems to be considered universally appropriate to praise New York whereas doing the same for California and L.A./Hollywood in general tends to evoke more negative reactions from outsiders (they're just jealous).

The track, musically at least, is perfectly engineered to be a summer smash, with many of the desirable traits for chart domination during the hottest months of the year: upbeat ("I Gotta Feeling" '09, "London Bridge" '06, "Crazy in Love" '03, "Hot in Herre" '02), catchy (most alums), summer- or party-themed ("I Gotta Feeling," "Umbrella" '07, "Hot in Herre,"), sung by an established chart-topper ("Boom Boom Pow/I Gotta Feelin;" '09, "Umbrella," "We Belong Together" '05), for example. It also cleverly manages a sound with widespread appeal, not utilizing the deep beats or electro rhythms (or, thankfully, Auto-Tune!) on which much of 2010 pop has thus far relied while still managing to sound entirely current, which means it won't turn off the segment of audience currently undecided on the electro-pop bearings of current pop but neither will it offend those who fully support it, and even some of the alt-rock crowd should find it not sufficiently odious to their senses or philosophies.

If this is the case, Perry could be looking at her second summer smash in three years (the first, of course, being the sophomore single that launched her to fame, "I Kissed a Girl," which stood at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 for seven weeks, between July 5 and August 22, 2008). Give it a listen and let me know what you think in the comments!

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