Oh, come on.

Oh hey, guys, it’s me, Lindsay. You remember, I’m the one who has to stop what I’m doing and write up a little critique every time a writer coins a new, fake musical genre in an attempt to explain the puzzling, out-of-nowhere trend of women singing about sex. Which leads me to ask: Hey, music writers of the world. Can we cool it a little bit? Because I’m getting sick of having to stop what I’m doing and write one of these posts every other day. I have some grocery shopping to do.

Yesterday a reader sent us David Hajdu’s New Republic article “Lykke Li and the Rise of Porn Pop” (and I should mention that he sent it with simple and fitting commentary: “Sorry.”) Upon reading the title of that article, astute Canonball readers will have a particularly sore nose-and-forehead area from where their palms just made impact with their faces — as they probably remember my post about Lykke Li last week, in which I quoted her saying of the music industry’s response to her last album, “It seemed like people weren’t listening to what I had to say. I just felt like I must be some kind of porn dream or something because all they seemed to listen to was my high-pitched voice.” Well, girl, only one word springs to mind: “Sorry.”

But isn’t Hajdu doing us all a handy favor in coining this term? We’re busy people (as I’ve already indicated: I buy my own groceries!); we certainly don’t have time to carry on nuanced discussions about these performers’ divergent messages regarding female sexuality. If only we had one quick, pithy term that could encapsulate all of this so we didn’t have to waste time talking about it! Two syllables at most. And alliterative, if that’s not asking so much. And it would save a lot of time if it referenced a cultural phenomenon that connects it with a go-to signifier of male-defined fantasies and desires, because I really can’t be bothered with a conversation that discusses the multivalent perspective points of contemporary feminisms. Oh, what’s that? “Porn pop”? Perfect!

I think immediately of hip-hop, and specifically of Nicki Minaj, a gifted performer who has escaped the dance-cage prison of status as a “video ho” to assert a less submissive identity as the best thing in Kanye West’s “Monster.” I think, too, of Ke$ha, the white-trash princess of “Tik Tok,” though the two women are riffing on the cliches of service as sex objects to practice different kinds of politics.

What’s particularly insidious about Hajdu’s appraisal of “porn pop” is that he presents this “trend” and a discussion of it as a demonstration of empowering, post-feminist politics. But he fails to miss the bigger picture: there’s nothing empowering about a reading of these performers that fits both their messages and their desires safely within the boundaries of cultural novelty. Sorry, dude.

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