So… Katy has a new single out. But its causing some controversy (the only reason I even knew about it so soon) because it sounds a lot like Sara Bareilles song (which I never knew about, either, but listened to first). Frankly, while I like Katy, and her song is all dressed up in high tech mixing, Sara’s song is great – and I prefer it because the video can’t help but make you laugh, and the message is externally facing – encouraging others to “be brave,” while Katy’s song is roughly derived from the same emotion but merely announcing to us that we’re “going to hear [her] roar.” Great. I’ll keep my ears open for that…
And then there’s the fact that Katy’s video style (lyrics presented as an iPhone chat session) was also (apparently) copied from a different artist. (To be fair, Katy’s video does the style much better.)
Okay. fine. I’ll be the first to admit that there’s not much originality left in the world, nor do I think anyone (artist or not) should really seek to be absolutely original, per se, or only ascribe value to works that are perceived to be “original” – in part, because nothing is truly original. But also because – as the implications of Sara’s video lead to – being “original” is just another way of finding your place in society. No one is actually encouraged to permanently dance alone, to their own style, to music no one else likes (or no music at all….? …that would be “original” … for a moment….). In the end, every brave original finds happiness in acceptance, conformity within the new crowd of heretofore originalists. (Isn’t that what line-dancing is all about?) The point of “originality” is not to be original but to resist blithely conforming to your environment. To choose to conform – and to choose what to conform to – is distinct from silent, thoughtless conformity – and is what we really value when we talk about the importance of “freedom” and “liberty.”
But – still – Katy’s rather blatant nod (?) to other artists makes me wonder if her next single is going to be a self-deprecating song about making loads of money from derivative art, and the strange society that will worship a person for doing it….
And while we’re talking about it, what was she eating for breakfast??? And what’s with the queen-of-sheeba-place-setting? I know she’s rich, and I realize that Katy’s style leans heavily on luxury-worship, not one-of-us populism. But even in Katy’s real world, she doesn’t eat every meal like that. (Does she?) And that means she chose to give us the view into the g-l-a-m-o-r-o-u-s life…
Okay. I’m not going to begrudge her too much for that. But she did do that latex-fund-raiser for Obama. I can’t help but think a little more of a I’m-one-of-you,-too populist exhibition would be more in line with her message, “You’re gonna hear me roar!” I mean, do millionaires have much trouble being heard? No. But maybe this is a millionaire-threatening-a-politician-video? Did Rand Paul inspire this song??? If so, I’m not sure the wake-up/potty/eat-served-meals/get-chauffeured-around/take-bubble-bath-next-to-in-bath-fireplace/collapse-in-bed-from-all-the-work/-set of people announcing they’re gonna-have-a-loud-press-conference is all that threatening.
Or maybe she’s pissed at Obama?