The Pop World went crazy this week, when two of Top 40’s favorite chicks released brand new singles. It started out with Miss Katy Perry, the first single from her upcoming album “Prism” (October 22nd) was released. “Roar”, the single, is a mid-tempo song about self-empowerment. It’s light, frothy and sweet like any good Pop confection, and it’s destined to be another big hit for the singer. Than, a week ahead of schedule, Lady GaGa dropped her highly anticipated first single from her upcoming album “ARTPOP” (November 19th) . Apparently the single “Applause” had leaked, and to maximize sales her team decided to release it ahead of schedule, much to the excitement of all her Monsters.
Personally, “Roar” wins this first round of the girls’ Pop Battle. Katy’s is catchy and easy to get into, while GaGa’s is way too much on the ears, but this post is less about what I think, and more about what these two new singles say about each artist.
The truth is, the reigning stars of the current Pop landscape all offer something drastically different. Rihanna offers something completely different than GaGa, where Katy can’t be compared to a Selena Gomez for the same reasons. The Youth on the Internet loves to make everything a STAN War, pitting artist against artist, but it’s pointless because, as evidenced by “Roar” and “Applause”, everybody offers something unique. Here we have Katy Perry, a girl who loves her pastel coloring and goofy visual gags in her videos and performances, and her music reflects this bubbly personality. “Roar”, while having a strong empowering message, is still very light and poppy and very accessible to the masses. Katy is an artist that loves what she does and knows the power that comes with that type of super stardom, but she also never takes herself too seriously and knows how to have fun with herself.
Whereas you have Lady GaGa and “Applause”. The single does sound like nothing on the radio right now, and that’s where GaGa excels. She’s always found a way to make herself totally unique to every other artist out there, be it through her fashion choices, thought-provoking music videos or even the heavy Industrial influence of the new single. GaGa focuses on being different and living outside the box, more so than her contemporaries. Some might throw the “Try-Hard” label at her, but you have to at least respect an artist that goes left when everybody else is going right. Honestly though, “Applause” isn’t my favorite, it’s very noisy and the lyrics seems a little pretentious, but I know that with an amazing video and VMA performance I’ll learn to love the song. What we have now is a song that I don’t see as being extremely radio friendly, and that’s one problem I see with GaGa at present. Because she has blown up into such a huge international star in such a short amount of time I’m starting to think that GaGa doesn’t think she HAS to be accessible to any Top 40 Radio format or the masses. Because her Monsters are so loyal I think she feels she has the freedom to do whatever she wants and maintain her success. I’m not saying that she’s wrong, but she IS still a relatively New Artist (Katy actually had her first big hit before GaGa) and there’s a danger of her going too far outside the box and alienating potential new fans.
Both women are fine for now, 2013 has been a very weak year for big Superstar releases and fans have been waiting to sink their teeth into new material from their favorites. GaGa has been virtually out of sight for almost a full year due to her hip injury and Katy has also been slightly M.I.A. for at least the past 6 months which she’s been using, presumably, to bang out this new album. And for the most part these two new singles do set up the upcoming albums well, even though I don’t particularly care for “Applause”, it does get me excited for “ARTPOP” because, if the song is any indication, it shows the singer moving further away from the DancePop sound she started with.
Check out the singles below and let me know what you think. I’m excited for this Fall rush of new music, I just hope the STANbases will not make this into a Pop Music War comparing each and every detail of the girls’ new eras… but in that case I think hope is a little fleeting. I’ll just be enjoying the music.