Katy Perry is everywhere playing on Palladia in her MTV Unplugged performance. Her presentation is so perfect and so Aristotelian in fiber and being that we begin to think she will never again be as great as she was at age 24.
Katy’s entire performance begins with plot. She brings us into her music and her concert tells a perfect story of a young Christian girl coming into her own world as her own woman.
The audience is filled with young and impressionable teenage girls who are looking up to Katy for imitation, exampling and behavior modeling. Katy escaped a punishing religious upbringing to deconstruct into her own free thoughts and liberal being.
You can only lose your innocence one, and what you do with that loss redefines your entire life. Each song Katy sings is a marker against that loss.
Katy takes the notion of those captive audience minds and flings them to new heights as she shares stories about kissing a girl and liking it, a boyfriend she dated… who was probably Gay, and the inevitable feeling of being lost in a lonesome world.
We all need those hard-earned lessons of living and failing and getting up again and Katy gives us bright paths for rescuing ourselves if we can ever dare to be so brave and imaginative.
The sense of loss and longing are especially strong in her cover of Fountains of Wayne’s Hackensack:
I used to work in a record store
Now I work for my dad
Scraping the paint off of hard wood floors
The hours are pretty bad
Sometimes I wonder where you are
Probably in L.A.
That seems to be where everybody else ends up these days
But I will wait for you
As long as I need to
And if you ever get back to Hackensack
I’ll be here for you
Katy Perry is a monumental talent because, unlike other current thin-skilled divas, Katy earned her bones on the road touring, she can sing, she knows how to write melody, and she can perform her own songs all by herself on in an empty space playing a guitar.
The reason we mourn for the future Katy Perry is twofold. First, her bad taste in men will eventually end her — she’s presently dating Russell Brand, the Borat of the UK comedy circuit — and, finally, her horrible taste in inspiration by basing her next album in the scheme of the idea-thieving Beyonce. If there was ever an anti-Beyonce, it is Katy Perry in performance at 24!
Katy Perry is falling into the dullness of celebrity that subsumes so many young talents, and our only hope is she quickly gets burned by her present excessive experiences and escapes with her artistic life intact and then, once again, rips open a vein to warn us all against the false trappings of spectacle over plot.
Time and tide are against that happening, but at least we have one blistering, beautiful, funny, shining, painful and pleasing jewel in Katy Perry’s MTV Unplugged performance — and that just might have to last us forever.