June 19, 2008

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Katy Perry, One of the Boys
Capitol Records, June 24
Most likely what’ll happen with this record is the culture-at-large will take dutiful note of its hooky choruses and promptly forget all about it after the next trumped-down arrest of Lindsay Lohan. In the copycat world of new pop-rock players, Perry’s trip is a PJ Harvey Mini-Me, a good choice since Perry needs to cut down on the too-perfect sound engineering and grow a sense of artistic embarrassment (“Ur So Gay” is something Amanda Palmer from Dresden Dolls might have created had she been a junior-high-cheerleading MySpace kid, but it does conjure enough experimental funhouse atmosphere to keep the album as a package from being lumped in with similarly built major-label instant-oatmeal).

The candy coating can get thick. “Mannequin” is sort of 4 Non Blondes and sort of Van Hagar, a showcase for Perry’s vulcanized rubber lungs but at the same time a walk of shame being that she was all too ready to be led by the nose by whichever company hack producer was hired to turn the song into filler that won’t spoil the mood of post-Julia Roberts-era karaoke girls on the way to the bar (“I Kissed a Girl” panders to the same demographic — a little sexual confusion couldn’t possibly muck up an imminent honky wedding). Much better is “Waking Up in Vegas,” a vision of Avril Lavigne all growed up. C+Eric W. Saeger