The time was late 2010, early 2011. Lady Ga Ga has been established and dominated the scene with The Fame. She continues to dominate but it doesn’t last long when 2011 rolls around and Born this Way comes out. Although that is an entirely subjective statement I would argue that regardless of sales, Born this Way didn’t have the same pop culture phenomenon obsession type of feel that her debut album did. Bad Romance is not a bad hit, but let’s be real…that isn’t anyone’s favorite Ga Ga album, do not lie to me. Taylor Swift was also a rising star with the success of Fearless but falls flat when her sophomore album, Speak Now, ends up being her worst selling album (to this day in fact but like it still made so much dinero). Pop music seems to be having this odd resurgence, a new wave, possibly a 2010 renaissance and now in 2017 it has shifted again. But let us stick with 2010 right now because it is important. I mean, a country singer with blonde hair and cowboy boots was being low key considered a pop princess, the world was so topsy turvy I tell you. Some of the changes to music worked well, some of it was garbage but we accepted it and it has died out because of natural selection. We’ve moved far away from the synth pop echo-y tone with strong instrumentals of the late 80’s and 90’s and have ushered in this era with computer generated beats and up tempo dance jams. A few less long, romantic ballads about love and love lost are being made. There are more songs full of innuendos and blatant declaration of ‘I am, who I am.’ 2010 and 2011 were weird. There’s a lot of auto tune in 2010. A lot. Remnants of T-Pain we couldn’t rid ourselves of, I suppose. Some of it so overwhelming that it doesn’t even sound like a human voice anymore. Everything is starting to blend and sound the same, but we still love it. This is the year they let Jason Derulo put out an album and for some reason everything he put out was playing everywhere and the same line would be stuck in your head for weeks. Things are getting progressively crude (I mean Ga Ga’s Love Game changed the game, you feel me?) and we love it. Some could argue that Miley Cyrus began her ascent into hyper-sexuality with Can’t Be Tamed in 2010. Female artists are taking back their sexuality? I don’t know. Sara Bareilles and Bruno Mars are also out there making beautiful, melodic, less aggressive songs with impressing smooth vocals, but no one cared about them yet.
In reality, the pop hits being released in 2010 are decent, maybe mediocre at best. Trey Songz is still considered an artist, so… The singles are okay. There’s no Crazy in Love, there’s no Poker Face level hype. There’s nothing that would last the hardest test of them all, time. A lot of the songs I remember from 2010 are definitely not things I would listen to today. Not unless I’m having a trip down memory lane and want to reminisce about the good ole days. (except 21 by Adele was out around this time but it didn’t qualify for the Grammys until 2012 so shut up)
Then on July 23, 2010, we were blessed. A golden ray shone down on us from the heavens, a hallelujah choir could be heard for miles around. Teenage Dream, my friends, the single by Katy Perry was released on this day. A breath of fresh air, something new. A step away from these loud, repetitive rhythms that were made simply for the purpose of being a dance/club banger. Which is fine, and I love a banger but the same thing gets old and boring and annoying. Teenage Dream is a simple song with simple lyrics. It took us back to the mid-tempo, enjoyable song we could all scream in the car together and bond over. It doesn’t need to be seeped completely in sex appeal, and I’m not saying it isn’t a sexual song. It’s just…softer and more sensual about it I guess. Less harsh and in your face. The song itself is day-dreamy and gentle and makes you feel like you’re in a world that may not even be real. Also side note, her vocals are the best on this song ok???? She mos def ain’t the best singer but she sounds good on this one. When I think of Katy’s brand and the career she had created for herself, Teenage Dream instantly comes to mind. That one song, that one album perfectly summarizes the kind of artist she is. Fun loving, love loving, whimsical, kind of silly, but ultimately very sweet. Bonnie McKee (who is pretty cool herself) co-wrote it with Katy and they wanted to create this sense of youthful love, AND COME ON ISN’T THAT EXACTLY WHAT YOU FEEL WHEN YOU HEAR THAT SONG DO NOT LIE TO ME. Also, let us give credit that Katy Perry actually wrote the song too, like…come on…come on…that’s also great. Anyways, no one wanted to produce it until ya boy Max Martin (this man has produced/co-written/written every good song, every billboard top 10 single, he’s a genius, Adele trusted him with Send My Love, so I trust him) came along AND NOW IT’S A HIT. The song could not stay off the radio waves. And you might find that annoying, but I love that song so I didn’t even care. Rolling Stone listed it as the 2nd best song of the 2010’s. Not just 2010 itself, but the 2010’s era. Katy Perry isn’t bullet proof to me. I do not love all of the music she has ever made, but this song and even the Teenage Dream album are works of art and deserved award recognition. Teenage Dream the single, honestly, should have gotten that Grammy back in 2011. This was pop music at its finest (at the time, but honestly it transcends time). I love every second of it, there’s not a thing wrong with it, there’s no part of it that I hate. It doesn’t slow down or contain any verse that feels unnecessary. There’s a natural flow to it and that flow is never disrupted at any point. In 2017, I still consider it a good tune when I compare it to what’s out today. I don’t know. I loved T-Swift pre-pop crossover (Speak Now continues to be one of my favorite things made ever) but I would give Katy the upper hand with this song and it’s better than anything on Born This Way. I’m just comparing her to the other “pop princess hits” at the time. Teenage Dream was nominated for best pop album and album of the year in 2011, the single was nominated for best pop vocal performance. I would have AT LEAST given it best pop album…maybe pop song of the year. It’s a pure pop song with just the right amount of depth and it is just cute and adorable and I love it and Katy should have gotten a Grammy for that, it’s the only exceptionally great album she has. But noooooooooooooooo, we’ll give it to Ga Ga for Bad Romance and that wanna be pop singer Tay Tay, whatever. Teenage Dream is iconic. You know the chorus off the top of your head, I know you do.
This has been “why Katy Perry deserved a Grammy back in 2011” and I made my case and I’m sticking to it. In the words of my 2010 pop princess, “No regrets, just love.” Bye Bye everybody.