Monday, August 11, 2008

Number 1s of 2008: August 10

Oh god.

That, of course, is Katy Perry, "I Kissed A Boy" (10 August 2008 to date), which got rid of Kid Rock after a single week. What a godawful record.

Okay - musically, it's not bad, if a bit sub-Girls Aloud. Mind you, it's co-written by four people. One of them is Perry herself. But the others are Max Martin, Dr Luke and Cathy Dennis, who are practically a pop songwriting juggernaut. Martin wrote "Hit Me Baby One More Time", and many others of that ilk. Dr Luke (or Lucasz Gottwald to his mum) has written for people like Avril Lavigne and the Sugababes.

Cathy Dennis is a one-woman song factory, responsible for everything from "Can't Get You Out of My Head" to "Toxic". If you don't pay attention, and the name rings a vague bell, then yes, it's the same Cathy Dennis who had a string of second-tier hits about fifteen years ago (the biggest being "Touch Me", which got to number 5). Her chart career goes all the way back to this guest vocalist spot from 1989.

Ah, the eighties.

Anyway, when you hire those three to co-write a single, you're really wheeling out the big guns. And they've come up with... a half-decent song, but one with lyrics so inane that you can't help squirming. "I kissed a girl and I liked it / The taste of her cherry chapstick"? That's the worst line I've heard in years.

Perry is a former Christian artist, which only serves to make her look even more mercenary. The UK mercifully missed out on her debut single, of which the less said the better. God, the more I learn about this girl, the less respect I have for her.

But the single isn't even physically released yet, so it's probably going to be number one for a while. More's the pity.

There is, of course, a precedent for faux-lesbianing your way to the top of the UK charts, in the form of Tatu, who were a thousand times better. Well, sporadically. Mainly when Trevor Horn was working with them.

And that's as good a reason as any to cheer myself up with the English and Russian language versions of "Not Gonna Get Us" - a fascinating compare-and-contrast in censorship standards. YouTube has a whole load of different edits of this video, presumably reflecting standards around Europe, but the UK one is by far the most conservative.

Here's the original Russian video. Sensitive viewers may wish to note that there's a photo of a naked child for a second or so, in a particularly glaring bit of censor-baiting.

Now, for the English language version, they didn't film a new video, so the editor had to do his best with the one in Russian. So that meant all the lip-synching had to go, for a start. Or be edited around. And the naked child's right out. And didn't Ofcom just ban "My Favourite Game" by the Cardigans because it promoted dangerous driving? Best move anything remotely dodgy to the end so that broadcasters can fade it out. (Actually, I'm pretty sure there's an even more conservative version around than this, but leave that aside.)

Behold an editor in the throes of desperation. I particularly like the first half of verse two, made up entirely of shots of wheels and stairs. And the broken glass effect, used to obscure the fact that they're lip-synching to the Russian lyrics.

YouTube also has this third version, which uses the English soundtrack, and the Russian video, plus extra graphics translating the Russian lyrics (though you can't see them very clearly, because somebody has thoughtfully subtitled the whole video again in Spanish). The naked child is also partially obscured. Not sure where this one came from. Somewhere that speaks Spanish, presumably.

Anyway, they're all infinitely better than Katy sodding Perry, aren't they?