Culture, Please Move Back One Space

When I heard Katy Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl” on the radio recently I was confused, because though I was 10 when Jill Sobule’s “I Kissed a Girl” came out I remember it pretty vividly. It was a catchy tune and its risque subject matter made it all the more tantalizing to my young ears (just like “Closer” by Nine Inch Nails). I realized that the new one wasn’t a cover when the lyrics unfolded and revealed themselves to be a celebration of the young, hot, drunk, bicurious girl-on-girl paradigm that is so. fucking. tired and harmful. Jill Sobule’s song, on the other hand, presents its female characters as focused on their newfound, mutual pleasure. They have no real regard for the stifling males depicted, whereas Perry says she “hope[s] [her] boyfriend don’t mind it.” Katy Perry is defensive; the severe beat, heavy guitar riff, and almost-yelling vocals are all saying, “Yeah, I kissed a girl and I liked it, but it’s not like I’m GAY or anything!”

For these reasons I was surprised to see it praised at Pam’s House Blend yesterday (though the iTunes comments are beyond insane). A rather recent song has the same title, and more positive lyrics, so it doesn’t seem necessary to praise Katy Perry for going out on a limb when in reality, she didn’t. Jill Sobule went farther. But here they both are so you can make our own judgment.


2 Responses to “Culture, Please Move Back One Space”

  1. 1 Melanie May 29, 2008 at 1:20 pm

    I only just became aware of this song and at first, I just thought it was a cover of Jill Sobule’s song too. But then I actually heard the song and found that it wasn’t and that it kind of sucks as a song in general. Then I started thinking about how most of the kids today who listen to this new song probably have no idea about Jill Sobule’s song and that makes me sad.

  2. 2 aliciadk May 29, 2008 at 5:12 pm

    It really does suck. It’s completely basic and tries to get away based on its supposedly naughty lyrics alone, but for any of us who remember Jill Sobule… doesn’t fly!

    What’s sad is the kids wouldn’t even like her song because it’s all acoustic and unapologetic. It’s just a really honest, fun song. Sigh.

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