There are a lot of musicians with the surname "Perry." There's Joe Perry, venerable (and occasionally addled) guitarist for venerable rock group Aerosmith; Steve Perry, still the only vocalist of any distinction for Journey; Lee "Scratch" Perry, the possibly insane creator of dub music; Linda Perry, singer-songwriter and unfortunate hat wearer; and Phil Perry, singer for the Montclairs.
And then there's Katy Perry:
Katy Perry is raising awareness for her new album by posing topless, modesty intact, in the UK edition of Esquire.
I was as surprised as anyone to discover that (almost) showing your goodies was a requirement for record promotion these days. Unless your only hit single was released over two years ago, that is.
I'm sure I heard "I Kissed a Girl" -- or snippets of it, at least -- while hitting the scan button on my car radio before inevitably giving up and plugging in my iPod. I'm also fairly certain I made the easy joke about preferring Jill Sobule's version (mostly because Sobule is actually, you know, talented and writes her own stuff). The bigger, more annoying issue was the fact that Perry's whole song exploited the titular act to make her goddamn boyfriend jealous.
That, and the video lacked any actual girl-on-girl kissing.
But like I said, that was 2008. In the interim, Perry hadn't done a hell of a lot besides appearing in Proactiv commercials and getting photographed in a bathing suit. A lot. And why not? She's got one hit single to her credit and the body of a Vargas girl. If there are any other career prolonging activities she can employ, I'm all ears.
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Then came "
December California Gurls," Perry's new single, which has shot to #1 thanks in no small part to the music video that stops just short of encouraging male viewers to shove their members into a bunch of cupcakes.
It isn't just Perry, whom I don't blame for shaking her moneymaker to, uh, make money. It seems like too many female artists, successful or otherwise, are sticking their asses out there to stay in the limelight. And I'm not just talking about drama queens like Lady Gaga (Want to really court controversy? Get naked on a star and crescent) and auto-tuned monstrosities like Ke$ha, but Beyonce and Rihanna and other performers who can actually sing. I know part of Beyonce's appeal is her curvaceousness, but one would think that Billboard magazine's Artist of the Decade could finally afford a decent pair of pants.
And while I don't dislike Perry for her dippy songs, or her meticulously crafted "wholesome with cleavage" image, I'm not exactly thrilled that she changed the spelling to "California Gurls" in "honor" of Big Star's Alex Chilton (writer of "September Gurls"), who died shortly after the song was recorded. She altered it at the request of her manager (who I'm sure intended it as an homage and not at all as a crass attempt to grab some collateral headlines) despite admittedly not being at all familiar with Big Star. Shoot ReddiWip out of your brassiere all you want, but leave Chilton alone.