I’ve spent a lot of time in the car lately. My grandmother has loaned me her seldom-used minivan to help me get to interviews in a timely manner, and to keep me from going insane from boredom as I job hunt. This means I’ve listened to the radio more than usual. Which, in turn, means I’ve heard Katy Perry’s “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F)” about seven thousand times.
I confess I listen to and enjoy a lot of horrible pop music. But there has not been a song that makes me want to poke out my own eyes then light myself on fire like this in a very long time. Let me see if trying to work through my blinding rage to analyze my hatred of this particular ditty allows me to move on.
Lyrically, the song is completely uninspired. Perry goes for the easiest possible rhymes, with “ginger ale/epic fail” being the most infuriating of the bunch. I also don’t understand the mènage á trois mention. Why bother? If you’re as wasted as the song claims, the lot of you probably just drooled all over each other anyway.
The music is just as bland as the lyrics. (I took my one music theory class about 15 years ago, so forgive the lack of technical terms.) The opening measures of the song have a dull strumming guitar, and the digital effects in the chorus don’t add much. Doubtlessly, we’re supposed to feel the quiet of the epic night out morning after, but it just seems boring. And I’m so turned off by today’s pop tarts using saxophone solos inspired by the late Clarence Clemons. But at least Lady Gaga got the Big Man himself to solo on “The Edge of Glory.” The solo in “T.G.I.F.” is an afterthought.
And then the video. Oh, the video.
The homage to Risky Business, John Hughes films, and other shenanigans-while-the-parents-are-away works is cute. But I fear this nerd in headgear dubbed Kathy Beth Terry is Perry’s attempt to create an acting career for herself. Also, the gratuitous guest spots (Hanson! Kenny G! Debbie Gibson!) get annoying after a while. (I will, however, watch dreamboat Darren Criss in anything. Even the occasional Glee episode.) It also doesn’t make sense to use a high school-themed video for a song with mentions of a car in the tow lot and a boss that needs an explanation for the singer’s behavior.
I don’t mind a lot of Katy Perry’s songs (and I actually dig “Teenage Dream”), but this one brings on a rage so hot I waste no time in changing the channel.
Which gives me an idea. Let’s help the children find another party song they can listen to so my car rides are spent channel changing less.
For instance, Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” has the same party-on vibe but is so much more interesting lyrically, and the video is limited to one star cameo. Even when arguably on the decline, No Doubt had a great reggae-influenced party hit with “Hey Baby.” And Lily Allen has a slightly moodier take on a night out in 2007’s “Friday Night.” Hit me up in the comments (or send me a tweet @derjue) with your suggestions and we’ll make up a playlist so we can all enjoy Friday with a better soundtrack.