Let’s get this confession out of the way: I really like Ke$ha.
I may not admire her to the same degree as my friend Brian — who introduced me to the pop artist and seems to have lost touch with reality, proclaiming her “the most beautiful woman in the world” — but I do like her. I think she’s funny and that her music is catchy, and I believe that she realizes how stupid the whole Hollywood music scene is, simply using that to work to her advantage while having some fun with it.
But for others, Ke$ha’s fame seems to have made her deserving of disproportionate amounts of hatred, as evidenced by numerous “I hate Ke$ha” support groups on Facebook and rants posted by disgruntled adolescent users on YouTube. Visit any music video and do a quick glance-over of the comment section underneath, and it will no doubt be brimming over with scathing criticisms expressed in varying degrees of grammatical accuracy.
I don’t get that — I don’t listen to Justin Bieber, but I don’t curse his existence. In fact, I’m generally very accepting of music I don’t like, unless it’s Nickelback. But this attitude apparently doesn’t hold with many others: one YouTube user, whose username was some variation of “K-Dog,” commented under her video for “TiK ToK,” knocking Ke$ha’s fans by saying, “it’s sad that there are people who defend garbage and don’t know great music like MJ, Beatles and Led Zeppelin.”
Most people who have ever watched a music video on YouTube will probably find this comment strikingly familiar, because some variation of that sentiment is posted as a comment under every music video that’s not for MJ, the Beatles or Zeppelin. (And on many of those, even).
And yes, in an ideal, utopian world where Nickelback doesn’t exist, we would all listen to Mozart and plant trees every day, and people like Paris Hilton would have never been given a record deal to begin with.
But this isn’t that world, and the argument that music by artists like Ke$ha is stupid is pretty stupid itself. Of course her music is stupid — I don’t think anyone would argue her songs are compositionally complex. But it’s fruitless comparing Ke$ha to the greats. You wouldn’t play a Beatles song at a club on a Friday night, and you didn’t learn how to play “TiK ToK” during your guitar lessons, right?
The real stupidity lies in the fact that these haters don’t recognize she never meant to measure up to the standard they’re holding her to. After all, the chorus to one of her songs is “stop talk, talk, talking that blah, blah, blah” — I don’t think she set out to change the world of music. Ke$ha knew exactly what she was doing, and that’s exploiting Hollywood’s fascination with this party girl image to her own advantage: her music video for “TiK ToK” shows her doing the infamous “walk of shame” out of a guy’s house and past his family while they eat breakfast downstairs. It’s ridiculous and stupid. Duh. I know. But it’s hilarious that so many take Ke$ha more seriously than she takes herself. In an interview early this year, Ke$ha expressed her bemusement at how many people were offended by her lyrics:
“People are like, ‘Do you really advocate brushing your teeth with bourbon?’ I’m like, ‘Yes, actually I do, every day, for everybody. Especially eight-year-olds.’ I mean, what are you talking about? ... Come on.”
Similarly, many of the comments under her video for “Blah Blah Blah” on YouTube slam her for the overly sexualized lyrics: “Don’t be a little bitch with your chit chat, just show me where your dick’s at.” Panky20231 writes, “I am sorry, but in this video she makes herself look like a drunken slut! Great role model.”
I suddenly felt deeply saddened that the idea of satire seems to have crawled to its death at some point between Jonathan Swift and the present day.
Ke$ha’s music is pretty dumb, but so was Paris Hilton’s and Hayden Panettiere’s when they briefly forayed into the scary world of pop, but the latter two never really succeeded. Seems like Ke$ha did something differently.
And having broken so many records (she holds the download record for a female artist while claiming the titles of the second biggest track sales week in history and #1 MySpace artist) and sold millions of albums and tracks by making fun of exactly what she’s doing in doing it — well, that actually seems pretty damn clever to me.
Editorials Editor Catherine Cai is a College junior from Atlanta.