Animal


Band: Ke$ha
Album: Animal
Best song: “Tik Tok” is a fun song, albeit a stupid one.
Worst song: The whole album is pretty worthless.

Shameful confession: I like “Tik Tok.”

I realize that admitting that is somewhere between “really dumb” and “genocide” in the public consciousness. Because, really, Ke$ha is a ridiculous human being and that song is the uttering of a ridiculous human being.

And I’m not sure I can justify it; “Tik Tok” is a pretty awful song. For someone who absolutely loathes the Black Eyed Peas, Ke$ha isn’t far above that. But, nevertheless, I enjoy the song, despite its ridiculousness.

Part of it is the larger story here as far as sexual politics are concerned. She’s not a genius on any level, but she understands her place and the general place of her music in the world.

That is to say, no, she’s not “Just a little pop moron,” as the Jezebel headline says on the Billboard story on the singer.

She is interested in cold war history. She notched a 1500 on the SAT. She writes songs quite a bit. She’s smart.

But, you wouldn’t know it from the video, I’d say…

There’s something very freeing about the notion of a woman understanding the “game,” as it were. For whatever the notion of “slutwave,” Ke$ha knows that she can ride said wave, make a lot of money, influence a lot of people and — hopefully — get out as soon as possible.

She’s smart, she’s not even marginally talented and she’s rich. Good for here, you know?

She’s not Kelly Clarkson; I don’t have any sympathy for her as a female performer in the same way I do Clarkson.

In a way, I feel sorta protective of her; she was (I think) a bar singer who won a talent show and ended up being covered in a way that fits someone like Paris Hilton or Kim Kardashian.

Ke$ha’s fame is partially based on the same sort of fame that Kardashian or Hilton enjoys. I guess the best analog is the loathsome Katy Perry in that both Ke$ha and Perry are “proud assholes” in the Jezebel vernacular.

Kes$ha is a grown woman, by all accounts. Her ridiculous music — she’s proudly written or co-written every song on the record — simply sings ridiculous nonsense about “feeling like P. Diddy” or “acting like a slut” or “Stephen, I want to knit you a sweater.” It’s barely above a high school reading level and it sounds like it was written by a child.

In a career of great short pieces, the possible greatest of Nathan Rabin’s is titled “Matthew McConaughey and the Perils of Male Beauty.” Rabin writes about McConaughey’s career as a nice example of “hoification,” only of a man. Indeed, McConaughey is eye candy and nothing more:

The McConaughey films I’ve watched over the past five years aren’t even trying to be good. Failure To Launch and Fool’s Gold are proudly idiotic fluff, aggressively superficial mediocrity. They exist to do nothing more than fill the coffers of studios with the dirty lucre of people who like to look at McConaughey flash that million-dollar smile in various stages of undress.

Rabin compares this with actors like Johnny Depp (or, in an example that Rabin doesn’t use, Christian Bale’s various recent roles), who seems to try and get ugly at every turn. McConaughey seems to have no interest in this. He’s handsome. Let’s see him with his shirt off.

Why does McConaughey do this? It could be attributed to laziness or it could be attributed to a lack of intellectual curiosity in the case of the Hollywood industry. I’m not going to argue with those things. Indeed, underlying both of those notions is this: It sells.

Which is how Ke$ha is a musical McConaughey.

As evident in the Billboard profile, she probably could be so much more. But, she understands that the stupid rap/talk thing on a vocoder sells. It really sells. She’s not even particularly attractive and doesn’t have much of a voice. But, she sells herself. She does what she needs to, in order to sell records. She’s a product, not a singer. She rides the “slutwave” and has a deep understanding that being smart and having fun are not mutually exclusive.

That’s worthwhile, if only for a second.

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