Her greatest songs are called teenage Dream and Last Friday night (T.G.I.F.) and Firework. Some of her very good songs are called Birthday and This Is How. Once, at the 2015 Super Bowl halftime show, she managed to both resurrect Missy Elliott and make a star of a dancing shark. Some singers are acrobatic. Katy perry is aerobic. Nobody this good at plastic flowers should be this bad at thorns.
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That admission echoes the conflicted silliness of Chained to the Rhythm. The song both works and works against itself. That kiddie-pool Caribbean sound evokes 1980s radio without overtly invoking any. The pinballing, steel-drum-ish twinkle arrives just faintly enough that it seems to be coming through a blown speaker, perfect for Perrys singing to surf it until the chorus. This is a low-calorie thesis version of the island life that pop has been touring for decades, which is clever, because it obliquely winks at what the song is too meek to look at head on — the way some white artists and listeners love black. That, of course, nudges the songs chain imagery — and the way it evokes Grace joness 1985 hit Slave to the Rhythm — into tone-deafness. It doesnt bring to mind white complacency as much as actual black bondage, a clumsy move that is its own kind of complacency. The live-streamed therapy, the plea of ignorance, the delight of the actual song — they all land near the center of the katy perry vexation matrix. Perry might be the most naturally likable pop star we have. Who else has her ungovernable goofiness?
Do i appropriate when I dress like a geisha or wear cornrows? And, like, what do i do with golf that? In a comical chat with the Black lives Matter activist and podcaster deray mckesson, she sat on a white couch in a heavenly white space whose mailing address might as well as have been the Cloud. Her legs crossed, her heart open, she confessed that the long, fraught history of black grooming was news to her. A friend had to set her straight. She told me about the power in black womens hair, and how beautiful it is, and the struggle, perry said. And I listened, and I heard, and I didnt know.
Perry was, as they say, in a mood. Her candidate had just lost the presidency, and she wanted us to know she was bewildered and mad as hell. Only she didnt sound mad. She sounded like katy perry — mad sunny, hella happy. But she was trying — trying to emote for the country, trying to indict our complacency, trying to matter. In anticipation of the june release of her fifth album, witness, perry embarked on a daffy foray into stunt therapy, an awkward conflation of self-interrogation and self-indulgence. She spent a long weekend mansion-bound and live-streamed, repositioning herself as emerging from a state of cluelessness.
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ryan McGinley for The new York times. Jamie lauren keiles is a writer in queens. Ryan McGinley is an American photographer whose work is in permanent museum collections around the world. Makeup: Erika la pearl. Read more, during the 2017 Grammy Awards telecast, katy perry performed a single from her first new album in four years, called Chained to the Rhythm.
Built around the bright slosh of resort reggae, it was as much a frozen daiquiri as a song. Wearing a white tuxedo-with-bustier number and a shaggy blond bob, perry sang lines like so comfortable, were living in a bubble, bubble and we think were free, yet were all chained to the rhythm. On her right sleeve was a spangled band that read iron resist — a tribute to the inaugural Womens March, which had just taken place. The picket fence she stood behind came straight from the song and sat on a cantilevered stage that revealed skip Marley, one of Bobs grandkids. He rapped while she did jumps and thrusts. When it was all over, they stood together, their arms up in solidarity, before vision a projection of the words we the people.
If the song does not toe any feminist party line, then it certainly empowers more than many things that. Nobody listens to bodak yellow and imagines herself as the girl who pays to party. From the beginning, rap has performed this kind of alchemy, turning systemic disadvantage into power. In Bodak yellow, just one person emerges victorious: Cardi. And like the best writers, she conjures this power from specificity and verisimilitude. Anyone who follows Cardi online can vouch that the contents of the song are largely true: She used to dance for money but no longer does; at one point she did, in fact, fix her teeth.
And they know that her persona was constant from the start — always silly, always angry, always sexy, always smart, always fed up, petty or exhausted. If her brand of bravado feels distinctly female, then its only from doing what rappers have always done — starting from a place of truth. Female rappers have done this before, but never for an audience so desperate to be spoken to directly. Bodak yellow does not seem to care whether you think its an anthem. In a world where women reflexively say sorry for walking past other women in the hall, cardi knows that the truest act of power is exercising the right to remain silent. If I see you and I dont speak, that means I dont expletive with you, she raps. Other anthems aim to please; Cardis conjures a world in which women dont need to please anyone at all.
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About electing a woman president, or all of the above? The hook is perfectly pitched for group singing, but Platten seems afraid to offend. What kind of anthem runs on nervous trepidation? In Fight Song, type empowerment is just another pursuit in which women must bend over backward for approval. Cardi b, by contrast, does not speak on behalf of womankind. On Bodak yellow, she talks about herself and herself only: her louboutins, her mixtapes, her checks from the television mogul Mona Scott-young. (Between dancing and rapping, cardi honed her persona on Scott-youngs VH1 reality show, love hip Hop.) Im a boss, you a worker, cardi raps. When she deigns to think of other women at all, its only to write them off as a nonissue: Other women pay to party, while she gets paid to party. These sentiments are far from Plattens brand of rising-tide empowerment; here, cardi has the only ship.
Ryan McGinley for The new York times. Compare bodak yellow with Rachel Plattens Fight Song — the soundtrack to defense hillary Clintons campaign. Over swelling piano, platten strings together blithe imagery about hearts, voices, friends and oceans. By avoiding precision, she tries to please us all. When she gets to the chorus, she belts out: This is my fight song/take-back-my-life song/Prove-im-alright song/My powers turned on/Starting right now Ill be strong. Is it a song about a breakup? About asking for a raise?
that feels easy. To paraphrase one commenter on: Its a song that will make you want to fire your own boss. Credit Video by ryan McGinley for The new York times. Cardi b, 25, grew up in the Bronx and worked her way to independence as a stripper. She first appeared in the public eye when she started posting charismatic videos on Instagram: infinitely watchable micromonologues on everything from dating, love, family and friends to media, terrorism, grammar, orthodontics and the finer points of three kinds of oral sex. As a public figure, her image is capacious, a mix of the bawdy antics of Fran Drescher and the"ble wisdom of Ecclesiastes. Cardi embodied these contradictions with ease, while other stars floundered. With public declarations of empowerment in fashion, many defaulted to a vapid middle ground, positioning themselves as generically relatable (Jennifer Lawrence) or taking a stand for wan concepts like love (Kendall Jenner).
The market is rife with solace for sale — a product on offer for anything that ails. This past year, our own systemic subjugation was no exception. With a former beauty-pageant owner in the White house, clinton in Chappaqua and high-profile men being exposed for their crimes, feminism reached its most shoppable form: pink pussy hats, enamel pins of vulvae, shirts that proclaimed The future Is Female. These trinkets and tchotchkes brought comfort to their owners, but as a political response, they felt comically feeble. In a culture that tolerates violence against women, denies our health- and child-care needs and polices our sexual conduct and bodies, why would empowerment ever look cute? Cardi Bs reviews Bodak yellow arrived as a valuable 3 minutes 44 seconds of frankness in a year of feminist pandering. The song debuted on June 16 and climbed the charts until it reached the top, spending three weeks.
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Underlying these thoughts are my personal values and my personal philosophy which encompass difference and diversity, fun and friendship, optimism and openness, trust, tolerance and teamwork, creativity, learning and growth, a commitment to reason and critical thinking, an interest in other countries and cultures, and. If you share at least some of these principles, then you should find the following thoughts illuminating and, on occasions, hopefully even inspiring. One of my friends once called my circulation of Thought For The week "a web database of wisdom". Videos by ryan McGinley for The new York times. Lettering by ben Grandgenett. Women in this world are taught to believe that every problem must have a buyable solution. Get a lavender-vanilla pillow spray. Buy a skin-care routine.