Republished from Isaac Bruce Springsteen
I remember the first time I heard “TiK ToK.” I had seen the song on the iTunes charts for a while but the irregular spelling of the song title and its singer prevented me from taking her seriously. But it just wouldn’t leave that chart alone, so I decided to take a listen. It was catchy as fuck. So it quickly became one of my favorite Top 40 songs, and then it proceeded to get overplayed into oblivion. And while I was becoming essentially numb to it, another Ke$ha single got popular: “Blah Blah Blah.” It was upon hearing these 172 seconds of pure blondeness when my theory was spawned: She can’t really be this fucking stupid, can she? I mean her music was ridiculously catchy (although I’m not too big of a “Blah” fan), but she just sounded so idiotic. It had to be forced, I thought. So I decided to visit her MySpace page to see how she conducted herself in interviews or other videos of her. Answer: as—if not more—stupid as ever. But something caught my eye: Clue No. 1: Her “influences.”
“MIA, Beck, Rolling Stones, Devo,” the list began. Bob Dylan, Michael Jackson, David Bowie, Neutral Milk Hotel—wait, what? Neutral Milk Hotel? Maybe a fluke… Arcade Fire, Radiohead, LCD Soundsystem, Sonic Youth, Belle and Sebastian, Bright Eyes… Need I go on? How many dumb skanks do you know who like Conor Oberst? But who knows, you say. Maybe some publicist just raided Pitchfork and flooded her MySpace page with great bands to make her look good. Well she did list “Surfjan Stevens” as an influence… To Wikipedia!
Aha! Clue No. 2: “…she would drive to Belmont University to listen in on Cold War history classes after school and achieved near perfect SAT scores.” But my teachers say that Wikipedia isn’t a credible source, you say. Well first off, shut the hell up. Wikipedia is pretty damn reliable, thanks in part to its gang of editors. So yeah, when you edited Don Cheadle’s page to say that at a young age he frequently hopscotched with Zach Braff while waiting for the school bus—yeah, that got taken down. Anyway, more proof ahead.
Clue No. 3: At the age of 13, Kesha Rose Sebert performed Radiohead’s “Karma Police” at her middle school talent show. I kid you not: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QIHDGDzVwK4. Not only does she truly have good taste in music, but she had good taste in music in SEVENTH GRADE. I don’t know about you, but in seventh grade I was still being weaned off “NOW” CDs and developing an interest in the All-American Rejects. And my only talent show performance was a lackluster rendition of Smash Mouth’s “All Star.” But—before I lose too much of your respect—I digress.
Kesha Sebert is not stupid. And she is certainly not “Blah Blah Blah” stupid. So why does the dollar sign (which she says she added ironically, as she was living off a lean salary at the time) make her so stupid? Because she is so smart. At least, I think she is. If my theory is correct, she simply plays the part of the dumb blonde to manipulate the mainstream music culture. She predicted (quite correctly) that the public would cling to her extreme party girl image that so obnoxiously personifies the lifestyle that many people who religiously subscribe to Top 40 garbage want to live. And she still gets to use her smarts by coming up with ridiculously catchy tunes. “TiK ToK” isn’t the only one. Even in spite of the ridiculously sophomoric lyrics (did she mention she likes “bottles of Jack”?), a good majority of her songs are as catchy as herpes.
And Ke$ha isn’t the only one. Lady Gaga did almost the exact same thing, although she churned out the mainstream hits to focus on the aspect of fame (hence, “The Fame,” “The Fame Monster” and Kermit the Frog dresses). They’re both actually pretty damn smart, smart enough to manipulate American (and international) mainstream culture. Then again, how hard can it be to trick a population that worships the Black Eyed Peas?