Friday, August 1, 2008

Sun Times Fun Times

I was recently asked to write my thoughts and opinions on the Katy Perry smash hit "I Kissed A Girl" for an article in the Sun Times. They basically wanted to know our thoughts on why its a hit this summer.

I took a stab at it and low and behold, I was quoted in the article.

Check it out below!

Girls go wild for 'I Kissed a Girl'

MUSIC: 'I Kissed a Girl' sets tongues wagging as theme for a summer when mild girls are going a little bit wild

July 23, 2008

When the first drumbeats of the song play at late-night destination Deja Vu, girls scream, bounce, rush to the dance floor, sing along -- and yes, sometimes they kiss.

"But they do that anyway," says John Snyder, general manager of the Lincoln Park bar.

The No. 1 Billboard hit "I Kissed a Girl" by Katy Perry capitalizes on the casual kissing epidemic sweeping a generation, and it's become a staple of Chicago DJs. The chorus: I kissed a girl and I liked it/The taste of her cherry Chapstick/I kissed a girl just to try it/I hope my boyfriend don't mind it.

"It really gets the crowd going," says Snyder. "The 22- and 23-year-old girls all know it, and it's a big sing-along."

The guys like it, too. "Your typical male fantasizes about girls kissing, and this song plays into that fantasy," says Kevin Saghy, 23, a fan who lives in Lake View.

The G-rated girl-on-girl action seems to be less about sexuality and more about getting attention. "I think it goes along with the Facebook phenomenon of showing or saying too much to be a mild girl gone wild," says Rachel C. Weingarten, a pop culture and trends expert.

"In an age of tattoos and piercings gone mainstream, it's almost the next shocking non-shocker. Your friends might giggle, but your friends' parents might become a bit queasy."

Erik Bradley, music director of WBBM-FM (96.3), received only a complaint or two about the song. "It certainly seems to be the song of the summer," he says. "I think it's just a fluffy, light novelty pop song that has a slightly edgy lyric."

The title, though, is familiar. Indie singer Jill Sobule had a minor hit called "I Kissed a Girl" in 1995. The stories are the same: She was drinking; she kissed a girl; she felt a little guilty, but not enough to stop dancing.

"Even though the lyrics are very similar, the reactions were very different," says Michael Pallen, manager of media licensing for VerveLife, a digital media agency. "Jill's version caused controversy. Katy's version rose straight to the top of the charts."

Not everyone is impressed. Julianne Shepherd, editor of music magazine the Fader, doesn't consider it a classic.

"It is a novelty track in the oeuvre of Aqua's 'Barbie Girl.' Therefore it will never die, but it will live on over your gym's PA system and on really terrible radio," Shepherd says. "The song's appeal is that it is vaguely salacious, but still clean enough so people don't feel too much like heathens for listening to it. People in clubs like to dance to vaguely nasty songs that they don't have to think very much about, and this is it."

Clubgoers may not be thinking much about the song, but it hasn't entirely escaped the notice of concerned adults. Debra Gano is the author of the Heartlight Girls series, which teaches self-esteem.

"While in some cases the trend of heterosexual 'girl kissing' may be just simply attributed to youthful curiosity, it is primarily a symptom of low self-worth in young women," Gano says. "Generally it is a plea for attention and affirmation, to fill a void missing within.

"This generation has grown up highly stimulated by technology and the media, often looking to what's 'next' for a higher form of stimulation, and suddenly kissing 'just' a boy is not enough, so girls are taking it a step further. The question is, what's next?"

The beat goes on. "Ain't no big deal," Perry sings. "It's innocent."

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