Ok, I am honest, I listened to Miley Cyrus’ “We can’t stop” since a month or two and therefore, she would have taken the spot last month but I was too lazy to write about it and didn’t really have the inspiration (that’s the Billboard-charts for you) but when Lady Gaga and Katy Perry released their new songs, I knew what to do: A song-off! Who is the best? Given that they plan to release their new albums roughly around the same time, this is double the fun…which, still, is not that much fun.
Katy Perry ‘Roar’
Perry’s boyfriend John Mayer (yep, I write about these girls daily, so this will be packed with gossip, so get your hair did and fire up the popcorn) said that this song is “big” and I guess it is. He also didn’t once utter the words “like”, “good” or “songwriting”, and the communication’s student in me figures that this says a little more about what he thinks of this song. “Roar” is an immediate “Ohrwurm” (which is the German word for a song that gets stuck in your head for days). One listen and it’s in there, for better or worse. Personally, I don’t mind Perry’s bubblegum-pop, so it’s ok.
In the charts, this song tops them all which has – in my opinion – one main reason: Perry is a very generic songwriter (well, she and her songwriters are very generic songwriters). You always get what you expect from her, which is light and fluffy pop that is well produced and easy to sing along to. It’s something you immediately like or dislike, there is not really a phase where you’re not sure what the song is about. It’s vanilla. But it’s good vanilla and quite honestly, sometimes music like this is a warm blanket made of cotton candy in a world full of cynicism (you know, the world that would say that a blanket made of cotton candy is not comfortable at all). However, it’s also the kind of song that doesn’t make me curious about her upcoming album at all. I mean, if it sounds like this song – which sounds like her previous songs – then I can just as well listen to her older albums.
Miley Cyrus ‘We Can’t Stop’
As already admitted, I really enjoy this song. Originally written for Rihanna, the “new” Miley Cyrus picked it up to help her evolve from a country artist to a somewhat more Urban popstar. Whereas many people doubt that she can pull off the sexy new Miley, I’d say that her voice can pull off a song like this and I’d wager that Rihanna wouldn’t have managed some of the parts as well as Miley in a live scenario (Rihanna is not the best live singer).
The song is a weird but not unusual little pop-ditty. It’s laid back and hovers somewhere between easy-going summer song and dance-number (you can do both, I tried it out). As “shocking” as the song is what with the drug-references (“dancing with molly” supposedly means “smoking da weed”…well, I never. Edit: Molly apparently is some drug that’s like XTC – not the band, the drug) and the sleazy music video, I like the cheeky puns (hidden between the cheesy lines) and the sing-along quality that works a little better than Perry’s if only because it is probably a lot of fun to sing this whilst being dead-drunk in the big city. Plus, from all artists in the bunch, this sound was the least expected from someone like Miley. I give her points for that.
Lady Gaga ‘Applause’
If you want to know why you shouldn’t like it, you can read all about it on Perez Hilton’s blog of human disgrace because that little sleazebag is in a fight with Gaga since quite some time now and they are amidst a big Twitter/Blog-Off that is nothing but nasty.
However, the nice thing about this song is that you actually have to listen to it a couple of times before you can make up your mind about the likeability of it. It’s weird and I like that. It starts with some German-80s-Wave-sounds and shows some pretty sweet vocal abilities (it’s safe to say that Gaga is by far the best vocalist in this bunch) and then turns into the already familiar 90s dance-number that Gaga does very well. This is the best song to dance to, because there is a very hard and clear beat and even though Gaga stacks up details, choruses and bits and pieces (as she always does), it’s not too difficult to keep track of it (aka it’s not a System of a Down/At the Drive-In/Led Zeppelin-song…now those are hard to dance to).
Even though it is pretty expected from Gaga to pull out a song like this, I’d say that her vocals come out a lot stronger than on previous songs and I still would like to listen to her new album just to see whether she will stick to the Wave-direction or veer into other sounds. Her last album might not have been a masterpiece but she always puts out some great singles and the overall visuals are always enjoyable. I simply respect her conceptualized persona, she is her own piece of art which is hard to pull off nowadays. Props for that.
She had a head-start which is kind of unfair but for now I will crown Miley the winner. Sure, her whole shtick is a little annoying by now but “We can’t stop” is a nice experiment for her, it suits her voice, was unexpected from her (though not a “new” sound in general) and I will probably not be as annoyed by it as with “Roar” in a few months. In fact, this might be one of the songs that I still like in a few years and hopefully can associate with some great parties that didn’t involve too many embarrassments (e.g. me trying to twerk). As for “Applause”: I will eagerly await it whenever I am out dancing.