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Katy Perry: One Of The Boys

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Under normal circumstances, an image-conscious pop tart like Katy Perry would earn a modicum of respect for co-writing her debut album, but One Of The Boys suggests that she should have gone with the hired-gun mentality of her post-Britney peers. At least then Perry could deflect some of the blame for sophomore-creative-writing-course-caliber lyrics like "You change your mind like a girl changes clothes / Yeah, you PMS like a bitch, I would know." Such calculated sass might be endearing to the MySpace-addled generation the 23-year-old Perry is obviously courting, but those who have outgrown their training bras (and who don't idolize celebrity-gossip maggot and Perry's number-one cheerleader, Perez Hilton) will be hard-pressed to find much to enjoy on Boys. While undeniably catchy, the hyper-produced songs have a familiar radio-ready quality that becomes infuriatingly mind-numbing over time, and Perry's vocals sound like a less-soulful Kelly Clarkson at best, a drunken, spurned sorority girl at worst. Any redeeming camp value that could be begrudgingly afforded to songs like "Mannequin" ("You're not a man, you're just a mannequin") is overruled by the sense that Perry intends for her lyrics to be empowering and insightful, rendering her carefully honed in-your-face-ness completely fangless. Only the silly, slinky kiss-off to an effeminate boyfriend, "Ur So Gay," comes even remotely close to hitting the mark, mostly because it seems like Perry is, for once, actually in on the joke.