The Problem With... Katy Perry's "E.T. (Futuristic Lover) feat. Kanye West"
Here's the thing about Katy Perry: She tries write songs that are thematically diverse, which is nice. Unfortunately, very few of these themes pay off into complete ideas.
Take, for instance, her latest single, "E.T. (Futuristic Lover)," which features one Kanye West and tries for a dark, mysterious theme, replete, of course, with Katy's flirtatious flair.
Naturally, the song includes an electronic-based sci-fi sound. And, like all things Katy, it sounds derivative. I personally hear a bit of R-rated Rihanna by way of t.A.T.u.
Anyway, the song focuses on a relationship Perry's having with an alien dude who has mutant powers -- a reference, more than likely, to one particular big-headed alien, Russell Brand.
Personally, as a foreign dude, I think I'm more "exotic" than "foreign." And I think the topic is kinda condescending. Does Katy think all foreign guys have special love powers? Let me clear the mirage: Much as I wish, I don't posses science-based powers like lasers and radioactive touch. My special powers are more old-timey -- like granting three wishes, turning people into animals and making it rain on command. (You know the erratic Dallas climate? That's all Dirk Nowitzki, by the way.)
Back on topic: The latest mix of this single includes a few lines by Yeezy. I think his name on the track was kinda misleading. Before hearing the track, I thought Kanye played a more direct role in it than tacked-on lines about probing and bathing an "aye!" in someone's Milky Way. But throwing Kanye into a rehashed single, while improving it, doesn't really do him justice. After all, when West is really involved in a track, he can bring out the best in pop artists -- like he did for all his guests on last year's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Hell, he even made Drake sound good in "Find Your Love."
And that, you see, is Yeezy's special power -- making good artists sound better and mediocre artists listenable. If he'd produced and written a Katy track, he'd probably make her sound cool.
Instead, she just sounds cold.