Katy Perry went to a Hard Choices book signing and met Hillary Clinton. After tweeting a picture of herself with Hillary, Perry tweeted an offer to do a campaign theme song. Two days later, Hillary tweeted back that she had already done so in “Roar”.
“Roar”? Leaving aside the lack of gravitas problem in using any of Katy Perry’s work for a campaign song, Team Hillary thinks “Roar” would make a good campaign song? Have they listened to it? Not just the catchy hook, but the verses?
Since her divorce from Russell Brand, Perry’s songs have progressed from “Wide Awake” to “Roar” to “Dark Horse” to “Unconditional”. Respectively, a how-am-I-going-to-put-my-life-back-together anthem, an I’m-free-of-that-jerk cheer, an I-dare-a man-to-try-and-tame-me boast, and an I’ll-love-this-new-guy-no-matter-what ballad. All of the hooks sound empowering. Cliches — Perry’s songs are collections of them—are good for sounding empowering by invoking ideas without triggering any critical reasoning. (I do love that Blues Traveler song: “It doesn’t matter what I say/As long as I sing with inflection/That makes you feel like I said/Some inner truth of vast reflection.)
Perry’s hooks hide the themes, few of which most pop feminists would want to own. For instance, pop feminists constantly lecture the rest of us that feminism isn’t anti-men. If that’s true, then “Roar” is a poor choice for a campaign song.
@HillaryClinton doesn’t post often for Twitter. Her team seems to be cautious knowing that the wrong tweet can cause problems quickly. They did wait for two days before replying to the pop star’s tweet, therefore, I assume they checked the lyrics and know that “Roar” is a lyrical middle finger to Perry’s ex-husband.
The song Hillary Clinton tweeted to claim for her presumed campaign starts out:
I used to bite my tongue and hold my breath
Scared to rock the boat and make a mess
So I sat quietly, agreed politely
I guess that I forgot I had a choice
I let you push me past the breaking point
I stood for nothing, so I fell for everything
You held me down, but I got up
Already brushing off the dust
You hear my voice, your hear that sound?
Like thunder, gonna shake the ground
You held me down, but I got up
Get ready ’cause I’ve had enough
I see it all, I see it now
I’ve got the eye of the tiger….
Whether they intend for the public to replace the “you” with the potential candidate’s husband, Bill Clinton, or with the universal Man of Patriarchal Oppression, the choice sets a mood of women vs men and fish who don’t need bicycles. Even considering that they would likely only use the chorus, that Team Hillary seems to think this “Roar” theme is a good idea is one of the growing indicators that Hillary 2016 may not materialize. What happens when the song plays on the radio after it gets associated with Hillary in voters’ heads? If the man holding her down doesn’t remind people of scandals past then allusions of naiveté well into adulthood might inspire fits of snickers. “I stood for nothing, so I fell for everything” isn’t a phrase Hillary Clinton should want in her audience’s head prior to a speech on, for instance, foreign policy.Photo posted by Katy Perry on Instagram