Katy Perry Enjoys Girls, Cherry Chapstick

There’s not that much to say about the lyrics in Katy Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl” — even if it is the 1,000th No. 1 single of “the rock era.” We will say that they’re hands-down better than her previous hit, “Ur So Gay.” (Not a joke.)

BUT: As the millennial airwave-dominating hit, it deserves some attention, so let’s look at the chorus. (That’s the part with the kissing.)

I kissed a girl and I liked it
The taste of her cherry chapstick
I kissed a girl just to try it
I hope my boyfriend don’t mind it

It felt so wrong, It felt so right
Don’t mean I’m in love tonight
I kissed a girl and I liked it

Anything stand out? Besides, you know, the kinda lesbian stuff?

How about “cherry chapstick.” Like in Coldplay’s “Strawberry Swing,” two bright words contrast with a field of nothingness.

Poetry or not, there’s something to be said about writing lyrics for pop music. The words need to have some sort of hook, whether it’s a flimsy, recognizeable cliche (“It felt so wrong / It felt so right”) or an incongruous, ear-catching word, like Nelly Furtado’s “Promiscuous.”

Kanye West knows this well, lining his hits with hooky repetition and similarly incongruous lines like “We want pre-nup!” Ol’ Dirty Bastard knew it too, making him a perfect complement to more verbose Clan members like Ghostface Killah.

Anyway, now we’re getting off topic. Here’s that song, one more time:

MP3: Katy Perry – “I Kissed a Girl”


2 responses to “Katy Perry Enjoys Girls, Cherry Chapstick

  1. Wait, I thought Katy Perry was covering Jill Sobule. I didn’t realize she’d dropped the original lyrics:

    So we laughed, compared notes
    We had a drink, we had a smoke
    She took off her overcoat

    The original song had a narrative. Two friends. One about to get married. Some anxiety over whether she was making the right decision. Then kissing.

  2. Yo La Tengo likes cherry chapstick too…

    Someone else’s date
    In someone else’s door
    There’s a girl with cherry Chapstick on and nothing more.

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