One of the Boys
What are your choices, if you’re a youngster looking for music that will piss your parents off? Well, in the sixties you’d’ve had rock n roll, in the seventies punk and more recently shoegazing and grunge. Then things would’ve gone a bit downhill on Hansen’s ridiculously sunny agenda until death metal came to the rescue of your hormones. But if you’re an emotional kid in 2008 and the top of the heap for blaring loud behind the closed door of your room is Katy Perry, you’re better off asking that elder sibling for those post-hardcore and Alanis Morissette records the singer’s clearly been listening to. And it’s no real shortcoming of the 23-year-old’s. What else will a girl brought up in California by two pastors sing of at that age but some puerile stuff about kissing girls (‘I Kissed A Girl’), cussing-out the guys (‘Ur So Gay’ and ‘Hot N Cold’, which finds Perry singing “You PMS/Like a Bitch/I would know”), feeling the pain (‘Mannequin’, “You’re not a man/You’re just a mannequin”) and laying down the law (‘If You Can Afford Me’). No, the fault in this case lies squarely with the producers. As far as finding a foil for Perry’s husky and elastic contralto is concerned, the maximum-pop-rock backing band is quite successful in making things almost perfectly insipid. Of the tracks here, ‘One of the Boys’, ‘Lost’, ‘I’m Still Breathing’ and yes, both ‘I Kissed A Girl’ and ‘Ur So Gay’ (they have that annoying sticky quality) show some songwriting and melodic promise. But the best thing by miles about OOTB is Perry’s voice, a kind of punky Feist with bits of Shania Twain in it. Given that the tentative nature of the genre should in all fairness be applied to the listening of it, that’s sadly not reason enough to buy this disc. Here’s looking forward to her grown-up debut.