At trivia a couple weeks back they asked which artist had 4 #1 Singles in 2010. After a bit of lively debate we narrowed it down to Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Keisha, Rihanna, and Nicki Minaj as the contenders. And I figured that you wanted to know my opinion of these “artists.” So I’ll rank them.
1. Lady Gaga. I non-ironically love Lady Gaga. I don’t love all her music (I wasn’t a big fan of Telephone, but it did grow on me a bit) but I really like her presentation. Yes, I think her weirdness is prefabricated, but that makes it even better to me. It’s a bit fake, but she has to figure out how to be fake in the right ways. Anyway, she’s great. Bad Romance remains my favorite song of hers, as well as my favorite video of the last few years. She’s the only artist of the 5 that I could really say is good at this point.
2. Katy Perry. I like Katy, but I’m not sure why. I absolutely hate, California Gurls, with a passion. So the fact that I still feel positively towards her is an impressive achievement by her marketing team. Also she doesn’t interview well, which is usually a big negative for me. And she did pretty horribly on How I Met Your Mother last week. Yet, I still like her! Amazing. I’m not even overly attracted to her, which would be the normal explanation for ignoring her other faults. Positives though: she’s married to Russell Brand, who I like in small doses, and I think she has an interesting non-pop voice.
3. Nicki Minaj. I like Nicki, but I do think she’s a bit of a novelty. I think ten years from now if you hear a track with Nicki on you’ll be able to say “Oh, that must have been from 2010-11.” But I’d be happy to be proven wrong. She’s not a great lyricist, but she has some fun voice inflection that makes her mundane rhymes more interesting. Kind of like doing impersonations while rapping. Plus she held her own on a couple SNL sketches a couple weeks back, which gives her points. Her guest work is still stronger than her solo work, and I suspect it will always stay that way. Check out Monster and Bottoms Up for my favorite Nicki bits.
4. Rihanna. I’m not big on hip hop generally, but I like Rihanna well enough. I wandered into a Rihanna concert on OSU campus once. True story. Her music is very hit or miss for me. Even though I think everyone on this list has dozens of people crafting their music and presentation, I feel like Rihanna doesn’t really have a personality. She just gets put into songs, and some are huge hits. Her favorite of mine at the moment is Cheers, which I don’t think has been a single yet.
5. Keisha. Not surprisingly, Keisha is last on my list. I don’t feel like anyone really likes or respects Keisha, and I don’t feel like anyone should. There’s no denying that her songs are uber-catchy, but they’re just gibberish.
So our group answered Lady Gaga. My personal vote was Rihanna. Katy and Keisha pretty well split the difference and no one really thought Nicki had been in 4 #1s. Turns out I was right; Rihanna had Rude Boy, Love the Way You Lie, What’s My Name and Only Girl (In the World.) Props to her, but I still think she’s kind of boring.