Katy Perry, E.T.

I heard KP’s ET on the radio yesterday. I’m not trying to put forward the idea that KP can stand in for Donna Haraway, but ET is a more interesting, possibly more subversive song than I had originally thought. It’s transparently metaphorical and gendered, but the terms it uses for this gendered relationship are surprisingly negative and ambivalent: poison and sickness are age-old metaphors for love, of course, but the dark musical tone of the song gives these metaphors an edge. More than this, though, I think that the song remains at the metaphorical level, with few concessions to the literal subtext, and is thus a kind of exploration of the metaphorical world of the song. It reminds me to some extent of Marilyn Manson’s Mechanical Animals phase, though probably more interesting and sophisticated than MM.

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