Let me start by saying: I have no problem with Katy Perry. I find her songs catchy and good for working out, which is really all I require from pop music. So, no, I don’t have a problem with Katy Perry.
Nor do I have a problem with her current hit song “Roar.” It’s a great song, an empowering song (it’s especially empowering while you’re working out), and it has a completely whacked out, over-the-top video. Check, check, check. HIT POP SONG!
But, ladies, there is a better anthem for you out there. A better, more realistic song to boost your confidence and get you through the day (or your daily--weekly? semi-regular?--workout). Guys, I suppose this could apply to you as well, but I don’t believe you listen to pop music to feel confident because you feel confident enough already. You don’t need Katy Perry to tell you that you can do anything—the world does that for you already. So, yeah, this song is for the gals.
My go-to ladies empowerment anthem is “Bravado” by Lorde. “What does a 16-year-old self-made pop star from New Zealand who writes all of her own music have to teach me about confidence?” you ask. Well, if the fact that we’re talking about a 16-year-old, self-made pop star doesn’t answer that question, we might have to start over, but for now, let’s consider the lyrics to the chorus:
I was frightened of every little thing that I thought was out to get me down
To trip me up and laugh at me
But I learnt not to want
The quiet of the room with no one around to find me out
I want the applause the approval the things that make me go
Are those not the perfect lyrics to describe the insecurity we all feel sometimes? The nagging feeling that we are meant to do something big, something important, something that will make people sit up and take notice but we are too frightened to try it? If you have no idea what I’m talking about, congratulations; you were hugged a lot as a child. But I feel this way every damn day of my life. I don’t want a pop song that tells me that “I got the eye of the tiger” because, well, I don’t. I’m very happy that Katy Perry has overcome her self-doubt, but I still have some work to do on that front, and, until then, I’d like my pop songstresses to empathize.
“Bravado” is not just about self-doubt, though. No, no, no. I don't listen to pop music so I can wallow in self-pity. That's what country music is for. "Bravado" is about making the decision to overcome your insecurity. Why else would it be called "Bravado?"
I’m faking glory
Lick my lips toss my hair
And send a smile over
And the stories brand new
But I can take it from here
I’ll find my own bravado
See that right there? She sees what she’s gotta do to get where she wants to go and she starts doing it, step by step, faking it till she makes it. “Roar” is the personal trainer screaming at you to train for a marathon so you can lose 50 pounds and become the hardbody you’ve never actually thought of yourself as being. “Bravado” is the friend who goes to Zumba with you but then helps you polish off a piece of cheesecake. She gets you.
Final note: there’s no good reason why I keep using exercise metaphors to describe this amazing song (for the record, all of Lorde's songs are amazing and if she is reading this, I would like her to be my best friend), but I did realize the epic awesomeness of "Bravado" while jogging, so it seems appropriate.