First Hit #1: June 19, 2010
Katy Perry’s first big hit was a bit of bratty faux-rebellion, but that can’t sustain a career. Luckily, she actually does settle into her own surprisingly specific niche, which is best defined by California Gurls itself – dance music about how great everyone is. California Gurls, apart from being a bit of candy-coated dance music, has one theme, and that’s basically that girls from California are great, a concept already explored fairly comprehensively by the Beach Boys. What are they great at? Well, clothes and parties, apparently, it’s kind of a Barbie’s Dream House lyrical concept, but it’s still relentlessly positive. It’s trying to be a summer anthem, and honestly does a better job of it than a lot of summer anthems I could name, and Perry has a clear vision here. She wants to make something a little bit fun, a little bit goofy, and completely happy and positive. She succeeds in her goal, and makes a goofy pop song as a result. It’s a charming song.