With my recent move to Texas, I've been forced to use the radio as a means of making my commute go by quicker. Needless to say, I haven't exactly been impressed with much that I've heard. Every song sounds the same and the "artists" behind them are so heavily produced that any heart they may have put into the music has completely vanished. It's superficial product that the superficial enjoy on a merely superficial level (guess what the point of that sentence was).
Out of all the crap I have heard, nothing has gotten my blood boil worse than Ke$ha. (That is not a typo, by the way.) She's been around for awhile now, long enough for The Simpsons to do their opening around her hit song "Tik Tok." (God, I'm glad I wasn't her English teacher, I'd be so embarrassed.) There's two things wrong with this scenario; a) it's really evident how low The Simpsons have become that their desperate play for viewers involves using a song about drunken club sluts, and b) America decided that "Tik Tok" was worthy of becoming a popular song and allowing Ke$ha the honor of not only being a part of the longest running animated sitcom in history, but also a musical guest on Saturday Night Live. (I will dig deeper into this in a little bit.)
Normally I don't rail on specific artists in the music business because as a failed musician myself, I respect the majority of them for at least knowing their stuff or having some sort of ability. (Even Milli Vanilli learned how to sing… after everyone stopped caring, but still!) Ke$ha, on the other hand, I can not respect on any level. I doubt she knows how to play an instrument, and anyone with a legitimate ear can tell that her voice is benefiting from the auto-tune and heavy post-production craze that has taken the soul out of music.
My other gripe is with her musical "catalog." I'll admit I've only heard her first two singles. So, to be somewhat fair, I'm only going to comment on them.
"Tik Tok" sounds like it was written around the time Lady Gaga's "Just Dance" came out (For those of you who didn't hear it, "Just Dance" is pretty much a song about the celebration of getting really drunk, having sex, and being an idiot. My friends call it "Whore-Pop" so I'm adopting that term from now on.), but when written by a 14 year old instead of a seasoned musician (more on Lady Gaga to come as well). The lyrics are so plain and without imagination that you would expect a tween on YouTube to be singing this, not someone signed to a record label. Her voice has a nasally quality to it that just makes you want to scream out in frustration "This is what passes for MUSIC now?!?" The way she spouts the opening lines "wake up in the morning feelin' like P-Ditty…" is all you need to hear before you can tell you're headed down a path of pain and misery.
"Your Love is a Drug" is less annoying, but parts of the verses are easily interchangeable melody-wise with "Tik Tok" and no one would be the wiser, not to mention more horribly immature and pathetic lyricism and possibly the worst ending to any song I have heard in a long-time. While there may a small chance that her other songs on this CD are more mature and sound way better, I sincerely doubt it and it would take an act of God to redeem her.
Her live performances do not help her cause in my eyes. I've seen her do "Tik Tok" on a couple of talk shows and watched her stint as musical guest on Saturday Night Live and… wow. She shows no rhythm in her movements and when she isn't being overly produced on the radio, the weakness in her vocals are even more apparent. If you don't believe me (for some reason!), check out any clip of her doing "Tik Tok" live and just marvel, marvel, at her choice of dance moves. It's like she's not even trying.
Some of you may (again, for some reason!), be thinking "well isn't Lady Gaga similar in style?" The answer is a resounding no. Here's where I hand in my mancard: Lady Gaga is actually a good musician. She is a pianist and she understands what makes a song good and bad (or at least her producers do). Her voice is actually damn good, and while some of her songs are weak (I loathe "Poker Face"), her music is actually tolerable and dare I even say… good? "Bad Romance" especially, has burrowed into my brain and not escaped my head for months. Sure, she tries to overdo herself with her fashion choices and makeup (something that Ke$ha is also slowly implementing), but that's a shock value thing. It helps you remember who Lady Gaga is, and it just adds to her flair. Gives her a personality. She just isn't a drunk who lucked into a contract by virtue of people trying to find someone to imitate Gaga.
Ke$ha is the biggest black eye in a business that admittedly has its fair share of bruises and embarrassments. Her songs may have a catchy hook, but there's no imagination or energy behind it, and her live performances are so pathetic if you watch them while half asleep you'll think you switched on public access by mistake.The very fact that her career is even a career is not only puts the music business in a negative light (really guys? REALLY?!?), but it puts America in a negative light because we are eating this up like it's actually good. It isn't whatsoever, and with any luck, people will eventually open their eyes and Ke$ha will end up back in the bar she was found in, hopped up on whatever drug she decided to take that day.
Agree? Disagree? Let me know. I want to see if anyone is willing to fess up to liking Ke$ha in any way that isn't ironic.