Owl City and Carly Rae Jepsen's "Good Time" tells the tale of a party-lovin’ guy and girl who frequently sleep until twilight only to stumble out of their hotel rooms, dropping phones in pools, raising their hands up in the air with giddy jubilance at going to many fun parties and emitting plenty of I’m-lovin’-life “whoah-oh”s. Jepsen’s share of the lyrics, specifically, paint a picture of a scenester lady who knows how to have… uh… a good time.
It makes me think of another famous good-time-enjoying party girl from times past who has since taken on the mantle of feminist icon: Zelda Fitzgerald.
Welcome to the first proper installment of RetroPop! A blog in which I, your humble guest writer, bring together my loves for the Billboard Hot 100 and bodacious bits from female artists of the past. It’s all based on my argument that lady-related pop messages of today are no less worthy than pop messages from the canon of women artists throughout history, and that by comparing them a bit maybe we can have some fun and give today’s female pop stars a bit more cred in the process. (Possibly making us "thinking girls" feel less guilty about bustin’ a move to Beyoncé? Added benefit.)
Today, in this first true demonstration of the RetroPop mashup style, we’ll take a look at some parallels between Carly Rae Jepsen’s dancelicious song of the summer, “Call Me Maybe,” and my favorite Jane Austen novel, good old Pride & Prejudice (P&P).
The world’s biggest flirt has triumphed over a social revolutionary on the pop charts: Carly Rae Jepsen and her flouncy seven-week chart topper “Call Me Maybe” finally unseated Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” as the longest-running number one single for a female singer with the Interscope label.
Flirty summer fun winning out over social comment, according to the dollars we are paying for the music they are making, means something. And yet, since this ideological overthrow was executed in the arena of pop music, the philosophical shift our iTunes purchases are fueling is not being discussed in the same way it might be if we were talking instead about domestic themes culled from the latest Jennifer Egan book or other pieces of more “worthy” art.
So what if we worthified the Top 40 by considering it alongside thoughts and arguments from great women writers of the past? What if we made explicit connections between the music of Kelly Clarkson and the oeuvre of Charlotte Bronte? What if we could talk about the contrasts between Adele and Emily Dickinson?
Welcome to my new guest blog, RetroPop, where the messages from today's biggest female-created pop tunes are played right next to those of rockin' and respected female artists from the past—and where dancing while blogging is highly encouraged.