Katy Perry's Teenage Dream Isn't Mine

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So, apparently Katy Perry, at least in her new song, thinks it's awesome that "You think I'm pretty / Without any makeup on / You think I'm funny / When I tell the punchline wrong." To which I say, the hell without all that:



I realize I'm in the midst of a bout of humorlessness here, and it's just a stupid pop song. I like me some Lady Gaga, and her lyrics aren't Shakespeare either (though the nonsense chanting in "Bad Romance" has something compelling about it). But I kind of don't care. The first part of the trope in Perry's song, the whole "OMG he sees something about me that the rest of the world is too shallow to notice!" thing is simply annoying and incoherent.

But really? The whole, "you're cute even though you're dumb" thing feels a little gross. Sure everyone's been kind of awkward at some point. But for every girl out there who hears this song and recognizes herself in the tight jeans is a teen or 'tween who wishes someone would notice that she's smart, and funny, even if she hasn't gotten the jeans thing figured out, and is annoyed that some dude is hanging all over some chick who has left her brain in the book compartment of her locker. It's a sour little line that curdles the fantasy. And the hook and chorus aren't nearly compelling enough to pull me back into it.
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Alyssa Rosenberg is a culture writer with The Washington Post.

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