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Commentary: Ke$ha’s music is awful

Courtesy of RCA Music Group

When it comes to talking about music, I have often been described as a prick. Although I admit that I listen to a lot of hoity-toity, underground music, I keep up with pop music and, as opposed to popular belief, I will readily defend some of today’s most popular artists. I can and will readily defend artists like Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber when others trash them.

My benevolence comes up just short of defending Ke$ha, however.

The pop vocalist will be opening the concert series at the Ohio State Fair on July 28. Admittedly, the state fair is chock full of awesome, yet totally stupid things already. A deep-fried Oreo cookie is amazing, but you know it’s stupid to eat something that could instantly clog your pulmonary artery. A cow made of butter is the biggest waste of the dairy product imaginable, but a life-size cow made out of butter is still classic.

Paying $32 to see a performer of minimal talent and songwriting skills? That only covers the stupid part.

My biggest problem with Ke$ha is that her lyrics are just plain dumb. There are some genres where songwriting can be blunt to the point of stupidity and still succeed. Those genres are crunk and grindcore. One focuses on yelling different terms for the female posterior over and over, the other on bodily mutilation.

Pop music isn’t an arena for Pulitzer Prize winners, but I expect more than lines like “brush my teeth with a bottle of Jack.” Jack Daniels is easily my favorite hard beverage. Brushing my teeth with it as per Ke$ha’s suggestion was a terrible idea, and it was only worsened when I tried to floss afterwards.

What makes it worse is how much Ke$ha waters down her songwriting in order to sell to tweens and intoxicated college students. Jay-Z admitted that “I dumb down for my audience; double my dollar,” but Ke$ha takes it to a new level. She got an SAT score of 1500.

Yes. 1500. I blinked as well. I got the number from a Seventeen magazine article and I confirmed it with an article on NPR.com. The Seventeen article also wrote, based on an interview with the artist, that she had an IQ of 140. My girlfriend is going to Columbia for graduate school next year. She’s smart. She didn’t get a 1500 on the SAT.

With a head like that, she could’ve been the next Bob Dylan, the next Joni Mitchell, the next Mark Lanegan. Instead, she’s at a “Party in A Rich Dude’s House.” This is my biggest beef with Ke$ha. There could be real talent there, but she won’t let us know because intelligence doesn’t go platinum.

Her vocal style of sneering while attempting to be sexy also grates on my nerves. I know she has the actual ability to sing. You can hear it in the background of Flo Rida’s “Right Round.” She’s not Beyonce and she’s not Adele. I forgive her for not having that kind of talent. Lord knows I don’t. But try singing more than you sneer. Please.

They say a good way to judge a person is by the company they keep. At this point, my column will veer from trashing Ke$ha to her perpetual musical cohorts, 3OH!3. This electronica group is perfect for Ke$ha based on the low standards she sets. By electronica, I mean its beats sound like what Tiësto would come up with on an electrocardiogram. While he was in a coma. Its songwriting also leaves something to be desired. Thus, they fit in perfectly for Ke$ha’s aptly titled “Blah Blah Blah” and she fits for 3OH!3’s, “My First Kiss.”

My last point against the pop star is her fashion sense. I’m not one to hold it against an artist for trying to look different. Lady Gaga, Parliament and (on the other side of the spectrum) Slipknot are artists that have established themselves not only with music but by having a style. The key here is to go hard or go home: I don’t always like Gaga’s outfits, but if it’s exotic, it’s exemplary. A meat dress is gross genius.

Ke$ha has tried to follow the same road, but hasn’t got the guts to go all the way. She dresses like a tramp, which is OK by me. It’s hard to dress so appallingly that the fashion blockhead within me actually cares. But my god; that lipstick.

With all the lights flashing in Times Square during its New Years celebrations, it’s hard to believe that something like a lipstick shade could catch my attention. The neon, turquoise blue shade was like a bug zapper on screen. She must’ve liked the insect attention, because I’ve seen her sporting the color in all the PR photos since. It looks like some alien fungus has taken hold of her mouth. I guess that’s bound to happen when you brush your teeth with liquor.

It’s lame to point out a problem without offering a solution. And, the good news for anyone heading to the state fair, is that there are plenty of solutions. I’m not much of a modern country fan, but I can appreciate Brad Paisley. I am a fan of classic country however, and Loretta Lynn is as iconic as they come. I really don’t like Journey, but a lineup featuring them, Foreigner and Night Ranger is a good deal that adds up to a lot of hit singles. Finally, the O’Jays are legends in the soul/R&B scene, and will play for a relative steal of only $20.

If you don’t want to veer out of pop music that’s fair. But there are plenty of artists that add up to way more than Ke$ha’s disappointing fare. If I catch you listening to Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, Nicki Minaj, heck, even Miley Cyrus, I won’t say a word. Just don’t listen to Ke$ha.

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