Battle of the Pop Girls: Round 1 – The Lead Single
So the last few months have been pretty exciting in the pop landscape — at least for me, anyway. Highly anticipated new singles from big female artists along with highly anticipated videos and albums. Pop music is being dominated by four women — Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, and Britney Spears.
Each, within the last couple of months, have released a new single, new videos and are gearing up to release brand new albums. So let’s look at each of them and sort of see who’s coming out on top in this race (in terms of my own opinion, which means nothing. So feel free to argue if you wish. Mostly I just want to talk about these girls.)
Miley Cyrus — We Can’t Stop
I’m not going to bash Miley at all throughout these rounds. I’m not a stan of hers, but I’m not disgusted by her either as some other people seem to be. I also don’t find her that shocking. I get that she needs to sell records and be relevant in pop music, and if this is how she chooses to do it, then I’m all for it. Maybe I’m jaded, I don’t know. On to the song of the summer.
I didn’t like “We Can’t Stop” when it first came out, mostly because it was just slow and sad. It wasn’t the party song I thought it was. After a lot more listens, I’ve come to like it. I don’t love it, but I like it. It’s still too melancholy for me to play at a party, but when I’m feeling a little depressed, this is the song I pop on. And compared to the rest of Miley’s ouevre, it’s actually pretty dang good. She’s toned down her twang a little, her voice isn’t nearly as grating as it is on “Party in the U.S.A.” or “The Climb.” Most importantly, it’s a grown-up song and it feels genuine, which is something that the two previously mentioned tracks lacked.
Katy Perry – Roar
There’s a big part of me that hates that I like this song because it is generic and the lyrics are just awful. It’s the lowest common denominator for Katy Perry, which really bummed me out when it first premiered. The impression I got with the blue wig burning dramatics and all was that we were getting a brand-new Katy Perry. A darker one. “Roar” could have been released on the Teenage Dream album and nobody would blink an eye.
But damn, if it isn’t catchy as hell. I can’t help but sing “RooooOOOAAAaarrrr” every time it’s on, and every time I do, I hate myself a little more because it’s bland, it’s boring, it’s contrived and just not moving her forward. It’s stagnant and it should stink as such. My guilty pleasure, I guess.
Lady Gaga – Applause
So I had a whole post about my gif confession of not liking Applause and . . . I want to take some of it back. I don’t hate this song. It actually gets stuck in my head when I least expect it, so it clearly has something going for it. It’s catchy, even though half the time I can’t understand a word that she says. I’m not as disappointed in it as I was when I first heard it. After awhile, it’s definitely grown on me and I do enjoy it a lot more than I did.
It might not be my favorite song of 2013, but it’ll certainly be up there. I still think it’s too fast, too messy and not moving Gaga forward as an artist, but at least it’s not boring or slow. There’s energy to it. I’ll have to check out some remixes and then maybe I’ll really fall in love with it.
Britney Spears – Work Bitch
I get that Britney is clearly the front-runner of what’s hot in the music industry. She too brings the underground music scene to the mainstream, and “Work Bitch” is no exception with its heavily EDM-influenced style. I also appreciate the lyricism on the track — usually Britney songs are about sex and boys, so this is a nice change of pace lyrically for her. However, I don’t love this song. It’s ok to me. First, it’s the fact that the production of the song is front and center. The beat is the best part of the track, but unfortunately, Brit’s voice is now really just a sound effect. The tune is a very limited range of notes and the higher notes on “Ring the alarm” are a little grating. She does put some emotion into certain phrases, like when she says “Now get to work, bitch,” but I don’t think I can call Britney a singer any longer, which is a shame.
Second, some parts of the rhyme scheme feel really out of sync, such as “You wanna live fancy/Live in a big mansion/Party in France” feels off to me. Also, the song feels really flat. Once it starts, it never really goes anywhere else. It just stays at the same level, which is disappointing and boring. I don’t like the “Work, work, work” buildup and I’m not a big fan of Brit’s new British accent. It was also guaranteed minimal radio-play by repeating “bitch” over and over again. Plus, the song feels like it was specifically made more for Britney’s gay audience and I’m just not in that demographic, which makes me sad. It’s an ok song, but it doesn’t blow me away.
Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus have certainly had the most commercial success, whereas Gaga and Britney have struggled a little to have a bona fide hit. I’d say that in terms of moving forward as an artist and putting out a decent single, that would go to Ms. Cyrus. “We Can’t Stop” feels a little different than the other singles — feels fresher not just for Miley, but for the pop music landscape as a whole. It’s certainly not the best song on the charts right now, but of the four singles, it feels like a more competent and more riskier lead single choice.
1. Miley Cyrus – We Can’t Stop
2. Lady Gaga – Applause
3. Katy Perry – Roar
4. Britney Spears – Work Bitch