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.

But also:

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.


Erik said...

I've never heard of this person until right now. I don't think I'm going to listen to her music based on this write up either.

Rob said...

It doesn't matter. Ke$ha will find you. At least now you will be equipped with the knowledge to face Ke$ha.

Erik said...

I do feel ready now.

Taylor Swift found me, Lady Gaga found me, it's just a matter of time for Ke$ha.

Jb said...


It'd be interesting to see how much class positioning is due to the success of the Second act, not only in terms of total entertainment package, but more specifically Ke$ha's music.

Then again, there's some wild cultural foreshadowing going on with this puking in Paris Hilton's closet on "The Simple Life" -- an act of class guerrilla warfare if ever there was one.

Erik said...

I need a translator for jb's post.

Saxdrop said...

Well done Rob. Ive been searching for some explanation of this phenomenon for a couple weeks.

In fact it would've received quite a bit of utility here at work a week or so ago. My colleague Russ Roberts helped put together this rap video explaining competing theories of business cycles which has no started to get some play (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0nERTFo-Sk). Our press person then came to me and asked "does anyone know anything about Ke$ha? Apparently she's 'endorsed' the video."

More evidence of her intellectual positioning?

Rob said...

Hey, I heard the podcast of Planet Money on which Ke$ha officially endorsed that video! She said something about how the rapping was really good, right? ... Sadly she may not be, uh, qualified to judge.

Luckily I also liked the Keynes/Hayek song qua rap. And my rap-critic qualifications are impeccable.

haahnster said...

Luckily I also liked the Keynes/Hayek song qua rap.

Rob, I see you are keeping your resolution to interject more latin in your daily conversation.

Rob said...

Haha, thanks for noticing. I also got the word "schadenfreude" into an editorial this week.

brittny said...

well this is weird cause i'm like the only girl commenting, but i'm looking for luc from persh...haha you were like the only normal person on omegle so rose and i kinda wanna still talk to you(: so comment back if you see this.