Ke$ha’s “We R Who We R”, Katy Perry’s “Firework,” Pink’s “Raise Your Glass,” and Lady Gaga’s “Born this Way” all have a common theme: self-confidence.
In response to the string of suicides in the LGBT community, many of the reigning pop queens looked to inspire youth to be themselves in the face of adversity.
This clearly is a message that many were hoping to hear as all of the songs found major success in sales on the Billboard Top 100 Chart.
In fact, each song has reached number one during its time on the chart, and they all currently remain in the top 20.
However, these songs fail to fully separate themselves from stereotypical, cookie-cutter, sexualized pop music.
“We R Who We R” urges the listener to “live it up” while looking “sick and sexified.”
Someone should explain to Ke$ha that those are two terms that simply do not mesh.
That aside, the song is about independence and being true to yourself rather than listening to the opinions of others, or, as in the case of previous songs, brushing your teeth with a bottle of Jack. Still, the message is slightly mixed.
Sending even more of a mixed message is Pink, with “Raise Your Glass.” Again, the song is mostly about getting as drunk as possible and having a rocking good time – not the greatest message to send to the world.
But she certainly sends a message of independence with, “All my underdogs, we will never be anything but loud and nitty gritty dirty little freaks.”
Pink seems to encourage her listeners to drink heavily to celebrate everyone’s differences. Maybe individualism can be accepted without substances?
“Firework” sends a clean, simple message.
The video addresses topics such as self-image, domestic violence and cancer, while Perry says, “You don’t have to feel like a waste of space. You’re original, cannot be replaced.”
All in all, the lyrics are not exactly quality material. It sounds like she took a stack of Hallmark cards and picked a line from each. But the song does have a very inspiring and powerful message, even if it’s trite.
The music video, however, pushes barriers that are not so common by featuring two men kissing. Perry’s video definitely pushed her song to the top of the charts by making her message of inspiration to the downtrodden perfectly clear.
Gaga’s “Born this Way” reads like a proclamation for individualism. “I’m beautiful in my way,” she says, “I’m on the right track, baby – I was born this way.”
She also is the most blatant in addressing LGBT issues in possibly the most controversial way
The chorus of her song says, “A different lover is not a sin, believe capital H-I-M.” Gaga states that she does not believe that God thinks homosexuality is a sin.
Gaga also sings, “No matter gay, straight or bi, lesbian, transgender life, I’m on the right track baby. I was born to survive.”
Lady Gaga clearly takes a stand for the LGBT rights, and uses her song to encourage the community and others to accept themselves for who they are.
Other than encouraging confidence and independence, all four songs are lacking one of the most common components of pop- love.
All four artists leave out any mention of romance or relationship entanglements. Given that the vast majority of radio hits focus on romance in some way, this is a refreshing change of pace.
It seems that the queens of pop want us to love ourselves and accept others. These songs will hopefully spread a message that influences the youth of America.