Sometimes your favorite pop culture moment doesn’t age well and, for Katy Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl,” that’s the case — even for the singer-songwriter herself. Recently, Perry voiced some concern over her breakout song from 2008 and said she would “probably” do some rewriting if it came out today.
Many focused on the same-sex kissing aspect of “I Kissed a Girl” — with some embracing it and others offended by it — but it’s really the lyrics around it and the cherry ChapStick of it all that are points of contention. Go ahead and listen along:
Perry sings that this isn’t what “good girls do” or “how they should behave,” and that she is just "curious" about this experimentation — oh, and how her boyfriend hopefully “don’t mind it.” The most harmful lyric, though, is that the song’s main character says “just wanna try you on,” as if this sexual identity is something that one tries out in life. There’s a lot going on here and much to unpack, but overall it is more derivative than inclusive.
The 33-year-old came face to face with “I Kissed a Girl” in a Glamour video in which she watched people cover her songs — including a Postmodern Jukebox retro rendition of “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)” and 4-year-old Claire Ryann’s adorable version of “Firework” to name a few. At about the 8:24 mark is when “I Kissed a Girl” comes on and Perry reflects on it.
"That was in 2008 when it came out and I think we really changed, conversationally. In the past 10 years, we've come a long way. Bisexuality wasn't as talked about back then — or any type of fluidity," Perry, who herself now identifies as sexually fluid, said in the video.
"If I had to write that song again, I probably would make an edit on it. Lyrically, it has a couple of stereotypes in it,” she added, explaining how her mindset has expanded. “Your mind changes so much in 10 years and you grow so much. What's true for you can evolve."
With “I Kissed a Girl” celebrating its 10-year anniversary this year — April 28, to be exact — and Perry having discovered a new woke sense of self, perhaps the time is right for a new version.