Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Unified Theory of Ke$ha
What you have to understand about Ke$ha is this:
a.) Ke$ha is incredibly popular. Her song has been No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for weeks. As I type this, she is #3 on iTunes.
b.) Ke$ha is omnipresent. "TiK ToK" was played on the radio 11,224 times last week -- the most of any artist ever. She was just on Jimmy Fallon. She is going to be a presenter at the Grammys. Like it or not, we live in a world where Ke$ha is an enormous celebrity.
c.) Ke$ha's rap skills are not tight. Her voice is incredibly annoying. Her lyrics make no sense. And yet, the lines do kind of stick with you. They do.
d.) Ke$ha once appeared on "The Simple Life" as one of the hicks that Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie went around insulting. Later, she vomited in Paris Hilton's closet. I learn this from Wikipedia. Also, she considers herself "the antithesis of (Paris Hilton)." That's obviously an insane thing to say -- really? the antithesis of Paris Hilton is a mega-popular blonde pop rapper? -- but it does tell you an awful lot about Ke$ha's cultural positioning, especially as regards social class.
e.) In some sense, Ke$ha is out-Gagaing Lady Gaga. The two artists have exactly the same narrative: Girl obsessed with fame confronts a grotesque celebrity culture, etc. etc. But Lady Gaga's game is to put a bit of performative intellectual distance between herself and her Gaga-ness. Ke$ha has zero intellectual distance. She is just doing the thing Lady Gaga is performing or sort of enacting.
f.) This is why Lady Gaga will have a longer shelf-life than Ke$ha.
g.) It is very, very difficult to see what Ke$ha's second act is.
And those are the things you have to understand about Ke$ha.