I Kissed a Girl

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"I Kissed a Girl"
Single by Katy Perry
from the album One of the Boys
Released April 28, 2008 (2008-04-28)
Format
Recorded
Genre Bubblegum pop
Length 3:00
Label Capitol
Writer(s)
Producer(s)
Katy Perry singles chronology
"I Kissed a Girl"
(2008)
"Hot n Cold"
(2008)

"I Kissed a Girl" is a song recorded by American singer Katy Perry for her second studio album, One of the Boys (2008). It was released on April 28, 2008, by Capitol Records as the lead single from the record. Perry co-wrote the song with its producers Dr. Luke and Benny Blanco, with additional songwriting provided by Max Martin and Cathy Dennis. "I Kissed a Girl" is a bubblegum pop song with elements of new wave, with lyrics that are described by Perry as being "about the magical beauty of a woman".

Upon its release, "I Kissed a Girl" received generally mixed reviews from music critics, who praised its sound and structure but highly criticized its lyrical content. The song drew controversy for its irreverent lyrics and was notably criticized by numerous critics and singers. The song experienced commercial success domestically as well as internationally. It topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart for seven consecutive weeks, becoming the 1,000th number-one song of the rock era. The single has sold over 4,600,000 digital copies in the US alone. "I Kissed a Girl" is one of eight songs by Perry to sell over 4 million digital copies in the US, the others being "Hot n Cold", "California Gurls", "Firework", "E.T.", "Teenage Dream", "Roar" and "Dark Horse". It has reached the summit of the charts in nearly twenty countries, including Australia, Canada, Lebanon, Ireland, and the United Kingdom, while peaking within the top five in other European countries such as Belgium, Finland, and France. The song is one of the best-selling singles worldwide.

The accompanying music video for the song was released on May 16, 2008. The video, directed by Kinga Burza, features Perry in a setting inspired by burlesque and Moulin Rouge styles. It features appearances from Perry's friends, including actress Shannon Woodward and then-unknown American electropop singer Kesha. The song is recognized as the 10th best-selling single in the 21st century. "I Kissed a Girl" was performed and a nominee at the 51st Grammy Awards (Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance). It was also nominated for Favorite Song at the 2009 Kids' Choice Awards. The song was also included in Perry's performance in Super Bowl XLIX's Pepsi Halftime Show in 2015.

Background and composition[edit]

According to Perry, "the chorus actually popped into my head when I woke up. It was one of those moments where you hear artists talking about songs they get in dreams or in the middle of the night. I was like 'wow, what an interesting subject matter to kind of pop into the head' and I didn't do anything with it for about a year-and-a-half. Then all of a sudden at the very, very end of making my album, I literally had two days left in the recording studio with my producer, Dr Luke. We just said, 'we're gonna finish it—it's so catchy because it won't get out of our heads.'"[1]

Capitol A&R, Chris Anokute told HitQuarters that the song and its controversial theme met with strong resistance at the label. "People said, 'This is never going to get played on the radio. How do we sell this? How's this going to be played in the Bible belt?'" Anokute said that they needed the support of one of the label's radio promoters to convince people to believe in the record. Otherwise Perry would have likely been dropped again. Dennis Reese, Capitol's senior vice president of promotions, saw the vision and helped push the single on national radio. The first station to pick it up and take a chance was 107.5 The River in Nashville. After playing it for three days, they were inundated with enthusiastic calls.[2]

An 18-second audio sample of Perry singing the chorus of "I Kissed a Girl".

Problems playing this file? See media help.

"I Kissed a Girl" has a length of three minutes. The song is a bubblegum pop track,[3] contains influences of new wave[4] and runs through a throbbing beat.[5] The track features instrumentation provided by drums, guitars and bass, courtesy of Dr. Luke. The song was produced by Dr. Luke, which was coordinated by Gary 'G' Silver and aided by American producer and songwriter Benny Blanco. There were a number of personnel who engineered the track for the album, including Emily Wright, Sam Holland, Nick Banns, Aniela Gottwald, Mike Caffrey, and Tina Kennedy. Kitty Purty assisted in the engineering while Tim Roberts assisted in the engineering for mix, which was done by John Hanes. The song was mixed by Serban Ghenea at his studio MixStar Studios in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Cathy Dennis was on background vocals while Dr. Luke and Benny Blanco were featured on drums and programming. Steven Wolf provided the live drums on the song while Mike Caffrey recorded and produced the drums at Monster Island in New York City.[6]

In an interview for The New Gay, Perry describes the song to be about girls. She defends the lyrics, saying that "When we're young, we're very touchy-feely. We have slumber party sing-a-longs, we make up dance routines in our pajamas. We're a lot more intimate in a friendship than guys can be. It's not perverse but just sweet..."[7] The song was partially inspired by Scarlett Johansson.[8] Perry also stated that the lyrics were inspired by her friendship with a girl as a teenager, commenting that "I did kiss her. I was totally obsessed with her. She was beautiful — porcelain skin, perfect lips."[9]

In an interview with the German online web show MalcolmMusic, Macy Gray revealed that "I Kissed A Girl" was initially offered to her before Katy ended up releasing the song. [10]

Critical reception[edit]

"I Kissed a Girl" has garnered generally mixed reviews from music critics. Blogcritics Magazine called it "an instantly catchy number".[11] However, Rolling Stone magazine, while giving her album 2/5 stars, described the song as a "new wave-y club single", saying the supposedly rebellious "attention-grabbing" lyrics are "a vanilla recounting of her chick-on-chick exploits" and that this "acting out" is "just to get a dude's attention".[12] AllMusic praises "the stomping Gary Glitter beat" before criticizing the producers for turning it "into a leaden stumble and burying Perry's voice underneath Pro Tools overdubs so it all winds up as a faceless wash of sound designed to be placed in TV shows, movie trailers, and malls".[13]

Sal Cinquemani of Slant magazine wrote that Perry's "lead single 'I Kissed a Girl' features a throbbing beat and an infectious, bi-curious hook, but its self-satisfied, in-your-face posturing rings phony in comparison to the expertly constructed ambiguities of 'Justify My Love' or practically anything in the first decade of Ani DiFranco's catalog; it's like a tween version of DiFranco's tortured bisexual confession 'Light of Some Kind'".[14] Hiponline.com wrote that the song is "not nearly as interesting or exciting as you'd expect. It's not even half as good as Jill Sobule's song 'I Kissed a Girl'".[15] Glitterati Gossip agreed Sobule's song "was ten times better, because there was actual emotional content to her lyrics".[16]

Sobule herself profanely attacked Perry in an interview with The Rumpus in 2009:

When Katy Perry's version came out I started getting tons of inquiries about what I thought. Some folks (and protective friends) were angry, and wondered why she took my title and made it into this kind of "girls gone wild" thing....

As a musician I have always refrained from criticizing another artist. I was, "Well, good for her." It did bug me a little bit, however, when she said she came up with the idea for the title in a dream. In truth, she wrote it with a team of professional writers and was signed by the very same guy that signed me in 1995. I have not mentioned that in interviews as I don't want to sound bitter or petty... cause, that's not me.

Okay, maybe, if I really think about it, there were a few jealous and pissed-off moments. So here goes, for the first time in an interview: Fuck you, Katy Perry, you fucking stupid, maybe not good for the gays, title-thieving, haven't heard much else, so not quite sure if you're talented, fucking little slut.
Jill Sobule interview with The Rumpus[17]

Days later, Sobule backtracked in a Huffington Post article she penned, stating,

I thought maybe this time I would have fun with it and goof on what many of my fans were hoping to hear over the last year. I prefaced my reply with a wink, and then rambled on with a string of over the top dumb-ass profanities, purposely out of character and completely in jest ... I may be a touch cynical about the business, but I have never really been angry or had ill feelings towards Katy herself. I was actually in a small way happy to not be the "Kissed a Girl" girl anymore.[18]

Controversy[edit]

Perry performing "I Kissed a Girl" at her Hello Katy Tour in March 2009

AllMusic concluded "the problem is not with Katy's gender-bending, it's that her heart isn't in it; she's just using it to get her places, so she sinks to crass, craven depths."[13] Slant Magazine agreed, saying the song "isn't problematic because it promotes homosexuality, but because its appropriation of the gay lifestyle exists for the sole purpose of garnering attention — both from Perry's boyfriend and her audience."[14]

Adam Holz of PluggedinOnline, a division of Focus on the Family, wrote an article entitled "A Tale of Two Katys"[19] about the singer's image transformation from a Contemporary Christian music artist to one of the "girls gone wild". He criticizes the song for being the latest, "high-profile message to young women and men that our sexuality is a malleable commodity that can be reshaped at will." Holz also argues that Perry's message carries with it "no need to worry about who might get used or objectified in the process," causing Perry to live "down to a damaging, demeaning stereotype." After numerous reports that Perry's religious parents were against her music and career, she stated in August 2008 "They love and support me."[20]

Though the Toronto Star describes it as "a lesbian-friendly tune",[21] whether homophobia fuels negative reactions to the song or the song itself appears to divide critics. Slant and other critics[22][23] suggest that Perry may be homophobic, especially given her single "Ur So Gay", which makes "I Kissed a Girl" seem like "a classic example of the 'Guys kissing is gross, girls kissing is hot' line of thought," which promotes hypersexualization of queer women and demonization of queer men.[24] MomLogic.com writer Vuv-A-Licious agrees, asking "What's the big deal?..... When this tune is playing and my son and daughter are dancing, I will be trying to dance along, or trying to acknowledge that they may one day dance to the beat of a different drummer than me."[25]

When asked about her own sexuality, Perry told Santa Barbara magazine "I like to kiss boys, but there is no doubt in my mind if Angelina Jolie or Gisele Bündchen came a callin', who wouldn't pucker up?"[26] Perry told The New Gay she had never actually kissed a girl and is heterosexual. She is quoted as saying "Yeah, it's fantasy, it's a song about curiosity."[27] However, in a separate interview in 2010, Perry stated to a female interviewer that she has kissed several girls.[28] Perry later admitted to Vanity Fair in early May 2011 that the reason she did not discuss it honestly at first because a couple of "sleazy" male journalists made her uncomfortable, she stated: "So I said no, I hadn't experienced it, even though I had, because I didn't like where the guys were taking the interviews."[29]

In February 2009, Márcio Barros, a substitute English language teacher in a Distrito Federal, Brazil public school was fired after he used the song in a class activity among students aged 12 to 14. He was accused of promoting "homosexualism" and alcoholic beverages usage through the lyrics of the song. The Secretary of Education supported the decision of the head of the school.[30]

Commercial performance[edit]

"I Kissed a Girl" debuted at No. 76 on the Billboard Hot 100. After a couple of weeks, the single hit the top five, due to the rising digital downloads and increasing radio airplay. It continued to rise the next week, reaching No. 2, just behind her labelmates, Coldplay. The following week, the song peaked at the summit of the Billboard Hot 100, becoming the 1,000th No. 1 song of the rock era (the 961st No. 1 single on the Billboard Hot 100).[31] In addition the song also gave the Capitol label two consecutive Hot 100 No. 1 singles following Coldplay's "Viva la Vida", making it the first time since 1976 that Capitol had two back-to-back chart toppers on the Hot 100.[32] The single also crossed over to Billboard's sister publication R&R's Rhythmic chart in its July 5 issue, where not only did she have the highest debut ever for a non-rhythmic track, entering at No. 26 with 1,065 spins, she also had the highest debut from a new artist in over five years. The bow is the best for a debut track at Rhythmic since Beyoncé entered at No. 21 with "Crazy In Love" in 2003.[33][34] It also became the first song since Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy" to simultaneously appear on the Mainstream Top 40, Rhythmic, Adult Top 40 and Alternative charts.[35] On July 26, 2008, the track also made history by reaching the No. 1 spot on Billboard's Hot Dance Airplay chart by three weeks, a first for a solo act with a debut single. The song topped the Hot 100 for seven weeks in a row before finally being dethroned by Rihanna's "Disturbia". It is the second longest running No. 1 on the Hot 100 of 2008 (tied with "Whatever You Like"), with only Flo Rida's "Low" topping the chart for longer. As of January 2015, the song has sold 4.6 million copies in the United States.[36]

In the United Kingdom, the single debuted at No. 4 on the UK Singles Chart on August 3, 2008 ― for the week ending date August 9, 2008. A week later, it topped the chart, where it remained for five weeks (a feat which would not be matched again until "Someone Like You" by Adele in 2011) until it was dethroned by "Sex on Fire" by Kings of Leon.[37] Alongside Basshunter's "Now You're Gone" and "Mercy" by Duffy, "I Kissed a Girl" spent more weeks at No. 1 on the UK Singles Chart than any other single in 2008. According to the Official Charts Company, the single has sold over 635,000 copies in Britain as of June 2010. It is the first Virgin label single to sell more than half a million copies since the Spice Girls' "Goodbye" in 1998. As of March 2012, the single had sold 654,560 copies in the United Kingdom, becoming her fourth best-selling single there behind "Firework", "Roar" and "California Gurls".[38]

In Canada, the single debuted at No. 55 on the Canadian Hot 100, later peaking at No. 1, becoming the first country where the song reached the top of the charts.

In New Zealand, the song debuted at No. 38 on the New Zealand Singles Chart, the single's first appearance in other countries chart outside North America, moving to No. 3 the following week. The song was certified Gold after seven weeks with sales of over 7,500. On August 11, 2008, eight weeks after debuting on the chart, "I Kissed a Girl" finally made it to No. 1. "I Kissed a Girl" was certified Platinum in New Zealand after 20 weeks, selling more than 15,000 copies.

In Australia, the song debuted at No. 30 on downloads alone. The next week, it jumped to No. 2, still on downloads alone. It later jumped to No. 1 still solely off downloads, becoming only the second single to do so. Ironically, by the time the song topped the chart, this was the time when World Youth Day 2008 had started and the event held anti-gay views. On July 21, 2008, after the singles physical release, the track retained its No. 1 position and was certified Gold. The single held the No. 1 position for several weeks and was certified double Platinum.

According to Perry, the song became a massive hit for being musically "catchy". She told BBC News "I think that it's one of those subject matters that is, you know, like 'Oh my God I can't believe she said that, that someone came out and said it.' I think that, whenever anyone writes something that is different than, like, your plain peanut butter and jelly song, 'I love you, you love me,' everyone kind of perks up and says 'what's this?'"[1]

Music video[edit]

Perry in the video with a then unknown Kesha on the left.

A music video for the song was released on May 16, 2008 on Perry's personal website and on MySpace. The video was directed by Kinga Burza and features a Moulin Rouge and burlesque-type setting with scenes of Perry, along with many other flamboyantly-dressed women dancing to the song. Towards the end of the video, she wakes up next to a male companion, played by DJ Skeet Skeet.[39] Despite the song's title, there is no depiction of same-sex kissing. Perry features her real life friend and DJ, Mia Moretti, Markus Molinari's cat Bella and (a then unknown) Kesha in the music video.[40]

The video made its television debut on June 12, 2008, on TRL with the visit and interview by Perry in set show. On June 24, 2008 it became No. 1 on TRL. The video obtained high airplay on this music video channel, as well as on VH1. It debuted at No. 20 on VH1's VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown on June 28, 2008. On June 30, 2008 the video was premiered on MTV Latin America. On July 6, 2008, it rose to No. 4 on VH1's VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown. The video received five nominations for the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards, including Best Female Video and Best New Artist. The video has had over 60 million views on YouTube and an additional 67 million pre-vevo views.

Cover versions[edit]

A cover version by Barnicle entered the UK Singles Chart (published August 3, 2008) at position No. 116.[37] An incomplete, unreleased version of the song was covered in the pilot episode of Glee, and a second version was released during the third season episode named after the song: "I Kissed a Girl". The song is alluded to by Smurfette, voiced by Perry, in the 2011 film The Smurfs. When discussing songs with Patrick Winslow (Neil Patrick Harris), Smurfette mentions "I Kissed a Smurf (and I Liked It)". On March 9 (UK) and March 10 (US) metalcore band, Attack Attack! released a cover for the song for the Punk Goes Pop 2 compilation.[citation needed] Because of the success of the cover versions, the official release of Perry's version was brought forward from September 1 to July 30, 2008. On August 3, 2008, the song, which had entered the UK Singles Chart at No. 139 the week before,[41] climbed 135 places to reach position No. 4.[37] The German Industrial band Terminal Choice also performed a cover of this song which was released in 2010.[citation needed]

Track listing[edit]

  • Digital Download
  1. "I Kissed a Girl" - 3:00

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Sales/shipments
Australia (ARIA)[96] 3× Platinum 210,000^
Austria (IFPI Austria)[97] Platinum 30,000x
Belgium (BEA)[98] Gold 15,000*
Brazil (ABPD)[99] Platinum 100,000*
Canada (Music Canada)[100] 7× Platinum 560,000^
Denmark (IFPI Denmark)[101] 3× Platinum 45,000^
France (SNEP)[102] Gold 200,000*
Finland (Musiikkituottajat)[103] Platinum 14,072[103]
Germany (BVMI)[104] Platinum 300,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[105] Platinum 15,000*
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[106] Platinum 20,000^
Sweden (GLF)[107] Platinum 40,000x
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[108] Platinum 30,000x
United Kingdom (BPI)[109] Platinum 600,000^
United States (RIAA)[110] 5× Platinum 4,600,000[111]

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
xunspecified figures based on certification alone

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format
United States[112] April 28, 2008 Digital download
Worldwide[113][114][115][116][117][118][119] April 29, 2008
United States[120] May 13, 2008 Top 40/Mainstream radio
Australia[121] July 19, 2008 Remix EP
New Zealand[122]
United Kingdom[123] July 29, 2008 Digital download
Switzerland[124] August 1, 2008 Remix EP
Germany[125] August 1, 2008 CD single
France[126] August 25, 2008 CD single
Worldwide[127] August 25, 2008 Remix EP
United Kingdom[128] September 1, 2008 CD single

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  81. ^ The first is the list of the best-selling domestic singles of 2008 in Finland, the second is that of the foreign singles:
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External links[edit]