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Young and broke: this is the thread where we post links to smart commentary on Ke$ha
koganbot
Last week Ke$ha ballooned into my consciousness when the chorus to "Blah Blah Blah" jumped me. The Jukebox reviewed "Blah Blah Blah" and produced terrific discussion and discord. I've gone back and found some interesting tumblr convo, and have decided to post a few links to what I like. I have no idea if I know aceterrier under another moniker, but his/her ideas are consistently ace; include mentions of the Rolling Stones.*

aceterrier 1 ("the ultimate anonymous voice of trashy hedonism and excess, the period on the sentence of our times")

aceterrier 2 ("The way the vocals stumble and slurr and bend off-pitch (or are bent off-pitch; Autotune fail = secret Autotune WIN), the robo-orgasmic crescendo heavenward at the end of the middle eight and the sudden moment of wasted clarity that follows - this is way better at expressing trashy debauchery than any attempt I've heard since, as I say, the seventies")

Dave Holmes ("I think she's popular because her lyrics reflect what sheltered 13-year-old girls think wild 21-year-old girls do")

Erika ("Ke$ha's persona consistently reads less 'super fun sexytime party girl' and more 'homeless teen, possibly a hooker' to me")

aceterrier 3 ("Surely the 'brush my teeth with a bottle of Jack' line isn't about using Jack instead of water, but using it instead of toothpaste")

The Singles Jukebox (whole scads of quotable stuff from Kat, Lex, Alex O., Chuck, etc., including this from Erika: "Listening to Ke$ha is like trying to have a conversation with a pile of cigarette butts"; also, this is where I first compared "Blah Blah Blah" to "Mony Mony")[Last November's Jukebox discussion of "TiK ToK" is here.]

koganbot 1 (featuring me and the usual cast of characters: Sabina, Dave M., Erika, Lex, Alex O., Kat)

Anthony Easton's review of Animal for Left Hip ("'Blah Blah,' with its 3Oh!3 sample, its chainsaw and razor blade electronic noise, the layers and layers of her own voice yelling and singing into a kind of dissociative power are fundamentally fronting. They are a put on")

aceterrier 4 ("There's a racial element to it (specially in America) which is worth sussing out too: almost all [Lex's] examples of 'we've heard it before' are black, and whether it's right or not (it's not) mass audiences respond differently to and have different expectations of white party girls vs. black party girls n boys, except maybe now they don't?")[I MUST POST ON THIS SUBJECT MYSELF]

andrewtsks ("a celebration of the sort of vapid party-kid behavior that I see all around me in my circle of friends and which I think is totally self-destructive and killing my generation. I'd love to find a way to tie that into the fact that I also find her brattiness kind of viscerally appealing, but I fear that would involve a detailed discussion of my own envy of my substance-abusing friends")

Dave Moore ("it replicates not the abandon of intoxication but more accurately (cumulatively) the feeling between being drunk and hungover, the slowly emerging headache while the effects are still kind of in effect, genuine fun with an accompanying wince")

koganbot 2 (Chuck joins the party, with me, Dave, and Erika)

Please add more links in the comments if you find more commentary you like. Has ilX paid much attention, and if so, is any of it special? (EDIT: Here's Ann Powers' review in the L.A. Times.)

*EDIT: Aceterrier would appear to be Jonathan Bogart, who also appears here and here and here, the latter being a Popular-like walk through Billboard's number one Hot Latin Tracks from 1986 forward. And Ace Terrier, World's Greatest Plumber.
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The evolution of my taste

koganbot

2010-03-08 08:17 am (UTC)

The evolution of my "taste": Here is all my Ke$ha commentary prior to last Monday, when I knocked out my "Blah Blah Blah" review at the last second for the Singles Jukebox.

October 29, 2009 in koganbot: "Ke$ha 'TiK ToK': Ambitious, shiny party girl who's done guest spots with everybody has OK sparkle here, while Luke accompanies her on OK toy-gizmos. Not as bright and sassy as she wants to be; I'm giving her the borderline on hope. BORDERLINE NONTICK."

November 6, 2009 in the Singles Jukebox: "Happy bratty party girl with a predictably sassy attitude and a good but not great Luke tune, her fun mannerisms are more forced and overbearing and vastly less effective than those of antecedents like Salt-N-Pepa and L'Trimm, though my letting her into the same sentence as them means I'm crossing my fingers in hope for her future. [6]"

November 7, 2009 in the Singles Jukebox: "I'm generally fine with Ke$ha's voice, though, or I wouldn't be referencing L'Trimm; L'Trimm (who've got four or five songs I'd give 10s to and everything on their second album is 8 or better) were a couple of kids showing off for anyone who would listen. Reading Erika and Tal I can imagine Ke$ha taking the giggling girl thing to desperation; what's wrong here is too much party sound, that fuzz bass, Ke$ha's putting on all those voices; it's the singer's and producer's desperation more than the protagonist's and it sounds crowded and unpleasant (as opposed to the relatively spare Davis-Stone-Klein Miami bass landscape in which Tigra and Bunny let their imaginations romp about). Actually, a crowded half-desperate party could sound great, and Ke$ha could sound great in it, but not this one."

November 11, 2009 in poptimists: "Ke$ha 'Tik Tok': I'm coming 'round to this, thanks in part to Tal's and Erika's discussion down in the Jukebox comment thread. My main stumbling block is how forced Ke$ha's joy sounds; but that can create force, the music partying its way to a party that comes a lot less naturally than it pretends. TICK."

November 19, 2009 in koganbot: "Several weeks later, 'TiK ToK' clearly should have been a tick. I was reviewing it more for what it wasn't than what it was (I did a better job over on poptimists). This still falls far short of its potential, but where, say, L'Trimm had been at ease, this track's uneasiness gives it a hint of desperation, in an uneasy party, hence its own character."

December 26, 2009 in koganbot: "Ke$ha's sober and subtle 'TiK ToK' has risen to number one (sober and subtle compared to everything else I've heard by her, that is; I'm impressed by Ke$ha's total commitment to cheesiness and stupidity, though nothing other than 'TiK ToK' gets the cheese 'n' honey burbling together for an entire song)."

The further evolution of my taste

koganbot

2010-03-08 08:21 am (UTC)

January 15, 2010 in koganbot: "I get the feeling that if I call Ke$ha a 'bimbo' she's somehow won, since it's not like she isn't absolutely, emphatically, gratingly self-conscious about her commitment to the most hackneyed and reductive ideas of wildness and partying and fun (and note that I'm a guy who loves Asher Roth's 'College,' so it's not like I can't get behind hackneyed ideas of wildness and partying and fun, but artistry is also a useful ingredient; enhances the fun, even). In any event, our desperately vapid young woman is in the forty with a new single and a well-downloaded album track, but has she risen as high in my esteem? Look under the cut.

"Ke$ha ft. 3OH!3 'Blah Blah Blah': Witless, joyless pleasure but not tuneless, unfortunately. After woefully underrating 'TiK ToK,' I can't in good conscience not tick this. TICK.

"Ke$ha 'Your Love Is My Drug': Oh, I get it. She's adDICted to his dick! Or maybe that was 'Blah Blah Blah.' But thank you, this tune is way short of catchy, leaving me free to simply hate her. 'I'm all strung out, my heart is fried/I just can't get you off my mind.' That's not even attempting freshness or creativity. I mean, what exactly does 'fried' add here, other than it sort of rhymes with 'mind'? Bimbo. NO TICK."*

February 8, 2010 in poptimists: "Ke$ha 'Blah Blah Blah': Desperate fun that reaches for dumb party clichés and dumber attitudes as if they were some kind of adventure. This is energetic and pretty enough to override my horror, though not catchy or smart enough to make something of the horror. TICK."

February 21, 2010 in koganbot: "Ke$ha holds off Artists For Haiti, a result that some people have qualms about, but not me. After all, there are far more avenues for getting money to Haiti than for getting money to Ke$ha."

And then I finally changed and rethought everything, as you can see in last Tuesday's Singles Jukebox.

*I still don't like "Your Love Is My Drug" much; it and "Stephen" are my two least-favorite tracks on the album.

Re: The further evolution of my taste

edgeofwhatever

2010-03-08 05:05 pm (UTC)

it and "Stephen" are my two least-favorite tracks on the album.

You're crazy.

Re: The further evolution of my taste

koganbot

2010-03-08 05:58 pm (UTC)

You're crazy.

How is this new information?

(On "Stephen" she sounds cute. Cute!)

Chuck says on a previous thread: "Uh... Now 'Stephen' is sounding like Lily Allen in my head for some reason. That can't be right, can it? (Ann Powers called it 'space-country' in her L.A. Times review, which seems off to me but I like the idea. Also wondering which parts of Ke$ha's album reminded her of Big & Rich -- weird.)"

Ke$ha has more variety than I had previously realized, but she definitely does not remind me of a cowboy Stevie Wonder. (Nor does she remind me of Steve Miller.)

Re: The further evolution of my taste

edgeofwhatever

2010-03-08 09:36 pm (UTC)

I think there is a Lilyness to "Stephen," in the summer-glare lilt of the chorus, and it has a Lilyish combination of sexpot bravado and open neediness.

Which is to say: What's not to like? Actually, now that the Lily comparison has been made, I realize what I like about "Stephen" is that it's almost as good as Lily at her best. "Who'd Have Known" is one of Lily's best songs -- it's about the warmth and uncertainty of the beginning of a relationship, and the world Lily creates in telling that story is so complete that you feel like you're beginning that relationship yourself, and like you could get up and walk around and live in the picture Lily is painting. "Stephen" does almost the same thing, except Ke$ha goes back a little earlier, to the beginning of a crush instead of the beginning of a relationship -- when inside your head is a chorus singing his (or her, but the name is Stephen this time, so his) name, wondering why he won't call you, and the world feels like there's sunshine scattering off every surface, blindingly bright one moment, and a flash of darkness the next. You think about how you saw him from across the room, and he saw you too -- just seeing him feels like a landmark moment -- and you think his name again, Stephen, Stephen, and how he makes you feel so different, so not like yourself, and why won't he call? Stephen. You're not even fantasizing about a relationship, or sex -- that will happen later, and the whole thing will become tinged with darkness -- but the uncomplicated excitement of wanting and getting, like a child thinking about a toy, or a puppy. Stephen. You try to make a joke out of it, want to tell him what a maneater you always are, call him "Steve," all these things to make yourself seem powerful and uncaring -- but you want to tell him the truth, too, that you're feeling pathetic, that you break so many hearts because you can't handle rejection.

It's less detailed than "Who'd Have Known", lyrically, but it should be. "Who'd Have Known" is full of places and people because it's (at least partially) about laying claim on the various parts of another person's life, but "Stephen" exists, like a crush itself, in the triangle between three points: the party where you saw him, the privacy of your bedroom, and the inside of your head -- this whole thing built out of nothing, really, other than your own giddy obsession. So you fill in the blanks with repetition, his name over and over again, and with feeling: light, airy instruments and a melody that stops and starts through the verses (a hint of a nervous stutter?), slides up and down (like your mood) through the chorus, slightly alien versions of your own voice joining in to repeat his name with you and again to betray how you really feel when you ask the important question: Do you not love me? (You had your kidding-around voice on before that chorus came up, but when those other voices fade away they leave yours all alone, unaffected.)

It's an almost perfectly formed little experience, which is why I love it, and why I'm disappointed in the songs that aren't it -- if Ke$ha is capable of this, then why is she wasting my time with generic bullshit all over the rest of the record? ("Your Love is My Drug" is like "Stephen"'s shitty, malformed twin.)

Re: The further evolution of my taste

chuckeddy

2010-03-08 06:53 pm (UTC)

Context from previous thread in which "Stephen" wound up reminding me of Lily Allen, in case anybody missed it there:

Thinking that "Hungover," as hangdog as it kinda sounds, is probably my favorite of Ke$ha's (what are, three or four? maybe even five? I keep losing count) not-so-great ballads, which are probably in general, where she's at her most Katy Perry-like (though "Animal" sounds like she's maybe trying to do a Kate Bush thing instead I guess. And "Stephen," which is only an almost ballad, reminds me of Katy, too. So, still having trouble hearing Ke$ha as that big a leap from other suburban girl burlesques from the past couple years -- only song that really reminds of Daphne and Celeste or L'Trimm tbh is the also hilarious "D.I.N.O.$.A.U.R.," though my wife actually mentioned Northern State. Though there are moments in some songs, like e.g. that great part about a minute into "Rich Dude's House" where her voice gets all gravely and she imitates the synth hook, kinda playing drunken air guitar with her mouth. I could imagine Daphne & Celeste doing that, for sure.)

Songs I still really don't care about one way or the other: "Your Love Is My Drug," "Blind," "Dancing With Tears In My Eyes," "Animal." On the cusp of caring, maybe; we'll see: "Stephen," "Hungover," "Boots & Boys."

(PS: Also, when I say the ballads recall "Katy Perry", it's possible that what I really mean by "Katy Perry" is "Pink.")




Has ilX paid much attention, and if so, is any of it special?

The only dedicated thread on the whole of ILX is in I Love Games, if that answers your question. And this was started only to ask which video game "Tik Tok" samples. There's some basic hate on the "which newly ubiquitous female pop star do you dislike more?" thread on ILM and a few positive posts (in addition to snark) on the "Rolling Pop 2010" thread as people actually get to hear the album (which I haven't yet, which is why I'm not posting on your threads btw, though I've loved "Tik Tok" from Day 1). No special insights yet though. Even Tim F could only manage one sentence, and that was about the Ke$ha/3OH!3/Cobra Starship school in general.

Hey Frank, I've dithered about whether to link you to my review at Burnside Writers' Collective, but you might enjoy it. Either that or you'll feel like your steez has been jacked, though the two aren't necessarily exclusive.

Also, "Blah Blah Blah" sounds AMAZING when you're roller-skating with a bunch of middle school kids, FYI. (My wife's their band director, don't worry.)

hello my beautiful world

(Anonymous)

2011-12-17 07:19 am (UTC)

hello my beautiful world
hello everyone on this place!
i am Kate

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