This post is less than timely, because I’ve been in an abusive relationship with Katy Perry’s “Roar” since last August. But this song is still EVERYWHERE on the radio, and it’s such a vicious earworm that I can’t stop hating myself for listening to it on purpose sometimes. So I spend a lot of commute time meditating on this particular topic, and it’s finally time to exorcise this thing from my system (if such a thing is possible).
The song is catchy enough, in kind of a bouncy/inoffensive way, but the lyrics. OMG you guys the lyrics. It’s like she took a bunch of cliches and famous quotes and just whizzed them up in a blender and made Dumb Lyrics Soup.
In no particular order, here are the people and artists who have been besmirched by their (presumably involuntary) association with “Roar.”
1) Former U.S. Senate Chaplain Peter Marshall, whom I believe is the originator of the phrase, “Unless we stand for something, we shall fall for anything.” Katy’s version is, “I stood for nothing, so I fell for everything” — which I feel must still be true, or why else would she be with alpha-douche John Mayer?
2) Survivor, for that whole “eye of the tiger” line in the chorus. As if we wouldn’t remember.
3) Queen, “’cause I am a champion.” Yes Katy, I did notice that you’re just mashing up the titles of former hit songs. Very clever, what you did there.
4) Muhammad Ali deserves better than Katy warbling, “Now I’m floating like a butterfly/Stinging like a bee, I earned my stripes.” I’m sorry, but wearing a leopard-print leotard in a video doesn’t qualify you to be the new people’s champ.
5) Jenny Jones, maybe? Honestly, I’m just guessing on this one. But when Katy says, “I went from zero, to my own hero,” I keep picturing 1990s-era talk show audience members shouting, “You need to lose the zero and get yourself a hero!” So I’ll give Jenny the credit on this one, because we just don’t talk about her enough anymore.
6) Dolores O’Riordan. Toward the end of the song, before the last chorus, Katy sings this little “Ruh-OH-oar, ruh-OH-oar, ruh-OAR,” and it is so very Cranberries I can hardly stand it.
7) The Cincinnati Bengals, after a vocal contingent of their fans were like “UGH WHAT LADY MUSIC? GROSS!” when “Roar” played them onto the field at the start of the 2013 season. (“There were Steelers fans next to me laughing,” one devastated eyewitness told ESPN.) The Bengals went on to be eliminated from the playoffs in the first round — which could be a coincidence, but is probably Katy Perry’s fault.
I’d like to conclude this list by pointing out one person who is not owed an apology by Katy Perry, and that’s Sara Bareilles. A lot of her fans felt “Roar” was a rip-off of the Bareilles song “Brave,” but Sara has said she disagrees.
Also, after the controversy about the alleged song-jacking got big, I started hearing “Brave” all over the radio, too. (Where I immediately recognized it from every Microsoft commercial ever released.) So good on you, Sara. Now, take your good friend Katy, and both of you get the fuck off my radio.