Monday, May 8th, 2017

Katy Perry ft. Migos – Bon Appetit

In which the Jukebox is told it’s not getting any dessert until it’s finished its Monday singles…


Rachel Bowles: Musing about cunnilingus is the finest thing a person can do, if she’s good at it. Narrowed down to just vagina-as-food songs, Perry’s extended mixed-metaphor is still easily outclassed, even by Iggy Azalea. As evidenced in this list, cunnilingus anthems have been largely pioneered and perfected by Black women (Janet Jackson, Lil Kim, TLC, etc.) those with the double curse of misogynoir proudly contradicting the patriarchal capitalist message that vaginas are disgusting and only for fucking. A good cunnilingus song makes women high five on dance floors, feel sexy and genuinely empowered. Personally, I prefer obscene instructional songs (Khia, “My Neck, My Back“) over those with faux-coquettish metaphor (Christina Aguilera ft. Nicki Minaj, “Woohoo“) but in Blow, Beyonce found the perfect balance: sexy imagery with a direct order, delivered with female solidarity in the echoed “Turn that cherry out!” “Got me spread like a buffet” to some generic summer EDM synths just doesn’t compare.

Iain Mew: Weird to hear a Katy Perry single where the lyrical issue isn’t awkwardly cramming in sexual references, so much as incoherence as a result of failing to properly commit to the obvious cunnilingus angle. The low-key sweetness of the production and her restraint still makes it a better listen than most, and the two note-four note hop-skip in the chorus works even better than it did in Anne-Marie’s “Ciao Adios.”

Katherine St Asaph: Christ, without Bonnie McKee’s involvement Katy Perry really does go right back to One of the Boys leftovers with an Anne-Marie melody. In a just world, such a demonstration of value over replacement songwriter would earn McKee something, like maybe, I don’t know, sales. In this one we get midtempo blahs I guess are supposed to signify sexiness, a cursory Migos feature fresh off their Capitol signing, and likely not even a hit to show for it.

Danilo Bortoli: Fabricating hatred has never been easier in 2017. “Bon Appetit” might have received all the negative press it deserves, but that happened for all the wrong reasons. Over time, however, consensus was formed: this is the most soulless Katy has been in years. Nothing works. Migos are out of place here (as a solo version proves). And, of course, the track seems like the result of a pun contest’s last place entry (apparently, this is a real and tasteless thing). No joke intended — but the song itself, that is. 

Alfred Soto: “Five-star Michelin,” eh? I’ll say this about Katy’s latest amuse-bouche: it follows through on its conceit. Confirming their A-list status, Migos gets relegated to muttered quavering non-entities.

Scott Mildenhall: You might feel differently, but Katy Perry singing “got me spread like a buffet” just has to be one of the worst musical moments of the year so far. As extended metaphors go, this one is executed very badly. “Table for two… I’m on the menu” — is she advocating autocannibalism? “Bon Appetit” has the ridiculousness of Perry’s worst, most affectedly wacky singles, yet sounds like it’s being played with a straight face, and that’s quite a weird place to be. The shimmering production is enjoyable, but the words are so egregious that they’re hard to ignore.

Cassy Gress: This is arguably the least sexy sex song I’ve ever heard. Katy Perry is singing through an A/C window unit, the song just rocks back and forth between B♭ minor and B major with no resolution, Migos stops by and contributes virtually nothing, and it’s a bit too close to “GOBBLE GOBBLE” for comfort for me. It manages to come off as clinical despite never explicitly referencing sex; I know I’m sort of squeamish about sex talk, but blugh. I’d rather listen to “Touch It.

William John: Katy Perry whispering unsexy, overwrought metaphors over boilerplate house reads poorly as a primer, but remains a more tantalising proposition than faded xeroxes of 80s synthpop with vacant “let’s save the world” platitudes. A few extra marks for the intermittent whoops, which nod reverently to Crazy Cousins’ classic “Inflation” (at least in my head) and Migos, who may have phoned in their guest spot but deliver it lithely nonetheless.

Katie Gill: Turns out “Chained to the Rhythm” was just a fluke! No, Katy Perry’s going to continue to make songs about sex with dumb metaphors stretched to high heaven, warped into near unrecognition. It’s an even tackier version of “Birthday”, where the best thing is the Migos break and the worst thing is the impossibly tacky dancehall stylings. Possibly the most interesting thing about this song is the cannibalistic implications — “I’m on the menu”? Really? — which has the potential to be thought provoking, so of course that means Perry’s going to ignore it.

Joshua Copperman: Between “lemiteiku” and “the worldsbestcherryPIe”, this melodic math was a bit miscalculated. And that’s before the chorus, which is possibly the worst Katy Perry melody ever, even counting “This Is How We Do”. Unusual for Max Martin, as far as I can tell, the chord progression is limited to B♭m-B the whole way through — apparently they couldn’t even be bothered to use four chords. Migos’ verses aren’t bad, and I smiled at “appetite for seduction,” but those are all the positives I could think of for this half-assed song that makes me wish a portmanteau of somnambulance and cannibalism was possible (somnamibalism?). I assumed that “Bon Appetit” would grow on me over the summer, but as it’s currently flopping after just one week of existence, I’ll never even get the opportunity to hate-then-enjoy it.

Will Adams: Against my better judgment, I clicked on the Tasty video in which Katy Perry prepares the “world’s best cherry pie” (take: this is an impossible task because there’s no such thing as a cherry pie that’s anything but gross). But my regret soon turned into high enjoyment as I listened to Katy ramble incoherently in some misguided attempt to create a Genius annotation live. As with “Chained to the Rhythm,” there’s so much effort to legitimize the nonsense pouring out of her mouth: 1. She claims there are “easter eggs” in the lyrics; I think she just means euphemisms. 2. What the hell kind of songs has she heard where “cherry pie” was not sexualized? 3. That she’s trying to connect this to the cherry Chapstick in “I Kissed a Girl” shows she still hasn’t realized she should probably disown that song. It’s all so tiresome; “Birthday” worked because it leaned into the cheesiness, but “Bon Appetit” goes serious with its Cobb salad of food-based innuendo, a concept I’ve rarely heard executed well. Fold in some perfunctory Migos, overdress with the entire world’s supply of reverb, and… oh fuck, now I’m doing it.

Anthony Easton: I adore the gossip about Perry’s fighting around her new aesthetic with the label, who apparently is worried about sales. I have no idea if this will revive her fortunes; it’s not quite anonymous, but it pushes her against Migos, and Migos wins — working against each other, doubling down on a cryptic chorus, becoming very close to being a hook singer. It’s not sexy, even if it is about sex, and this kind of disembodied paen to the abstract idea of desire complicates Perry’s previous perceptions. It’s not quite a meal, but it does seem to have that vague whiff of nausea after eating too much candy.  

Thomas Inskeep: I guess, seeing that “woke Katy” didn’t exactly burn up the charts, her camp/label/some-combo-thereof decided “we better go back to the clumsy sex songs, fast!” Because, you know, nothing’s sexier than hearing someone say they’re “spread like a buffet.” (Pardon me while I throw up a little in my mouth.) I’m sad to hear Migos doing a clear cash-in bridge rap here, because they’re so much better than this. Max Martin and Shellback’s track isn’t bad, but it’s sonically awfully slight. Ironic to hear Perry saying “bon appetit,” because there’s no major pop star whose music I find less appetizing.

Edward Okulicz: Pop stars get hot but they don’t stay hot forever, and if this uninteresting ode to Katy Perry’s vagina returns her to the top spot, then there is no explanation other than massive amounts of payola and a bunch of Capitol Records interns doing nothing but stream this 24 hours a day. I couldn’t last 24 minutes of the title’s non-punchline squeezed, against the laws of nature, into this non-chorus.

Jonathan Bradley: I have a Spotify playlist of Katy Perry songs that runs for about 50 minutes. That’s not an extensive running time for a ten year long career, but it contains some songs that are very good and some songs that are very stupid and also some songs that are very good and very stupid at the same time. Perry has had five songs off a single album reach the top of the Billboard Hot 100 — as well as a sixth from a re-issued version. She’s been risible and racist and homophobic and “woke” and “inspirational” and fantastic, and even birthed a meme from her Super Bowl performance, but on “Bon Appetit,” she’s nothing. This is a public-domain club groove and a Migos verse that couldn’t deliver the rap group unto dance even as effectively as Calvin Harris did. If, immediately after “Ur So Gay” dropped, someone time-travelled to 2017, could you convince them off the strength of this single that, in the interim decade, Katy Perry had been one of America’s biggest pop stars?

Reader average: [4.41] (39 votes)

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9 Responses to “Katy Perry ft. Migos – Bon Appetit”

  1. For a fleeting moment it seemed as though Katy Perry had successfully re-positioned herself in the pop biz as a singer of thinly-veiled social commentary songs such as “Chained to the Rhythm”. Howerver, her latest single “Bon Appetit” completely destroyed the little credibility she had garnered as the self-proclaimed champion of “purposeful pop”. The production, albeit crisp and clean, doesn’t have enough punch to it, and Perry’s sex metaphors fail to make any sort of long-lasting impression. If anything, Perry’s previous singles were hits thanks to her fun imagery and big, thumping choruses, but Bon Appetit appears to sorely lack in both departments.

  2. Well, at least we will always have that screenshot.

  3. sometimes a song not having a video yet can be a blessing in disguise

  4. you’re so wrong about this song — tragic.

  5. “You might feel differently, but Katy Perry singing “got me spread like a buffet” just has to be one of the worst musical moments of the year so far.”

    It’s supposed to be unsettling. Anyone who doesn’t get that isn’t paying close enough attention to the song and its video (and to the video). Revolting you is her feminist power-play.

    ” ‘Table for two… I’m on the menu’ — is she advocating autocannibalism?”

    Straight-up cannibalism, but yeah.

    “Possibly the most interesting thing about this song is the cannibalistic implications — “I’m on the menu”? Really? — which has the potential to be thought provoking, so of course that means Perry’s going to ignore it.”

    Except then she made an entire video about elite cannibilism.

    “This is arguably the least sexy sex song I’ve ever heard.”

    Exactly. And sex is disgusting, but, once you push past that, sex (and the lyrics) is queasily romantic and fantastic.

    “I assumed that “Bon Appetit” would grow on me over the summer, but as it’s currently flopping after just one week of existence…”

    Try harder. And the charts don’t measure what’s good, just what’s popular.

    Will Adams offers the only gives-you-pause takedown. And Anthony Easton gets it.

  6. *to the song and its lyrics

  7. I never said I was unsettled or revolted, I just thought it was ridiculously naff. Other than because I tend to pull back when I’m aware I’m making such an absolute statement, I made sure to hedge my bets at the start because I felt it stood out so much that it would carry a lot of meaning to a lot of people whether good or bad – and particularly as a feminist power-play, as you say. I do wonder if I would take it differently were it not by someone I know I’m unfavourably inclined towards (and there are reasons for that inclination), but we’ll never know. If anything, the ridiculous naffness I get from it is partly what’s making it grow on me.

    I also don’t think it’s entirely fair to bring the video into the argument because it wasn’t released until after this post went up. Thanks for responding though (and I mean that sincerely).

  8. By this same argument “California Gurls” is unsettling for talking about “[melting] your popsicle.” Sometimes a bad metaphor is just a bad metaphor.

    Re: the video: Ever since music videos became popular again in the digital age, you see people trying to construct over-elaborate McMansions of extra-musical meaning over what are pretty standard-issue pop songs. Sometimes the results are great (Beyonce’s last two albums, Lady Gaga before “Telephone”). Sometimes they are terrible, most often they are forgettable. But they always lead to reading-in like this.

  9. I’m honestly surprised if someone gets a rise from a Katy Perry single. Hate or love any song of hers sure, but with an artist who did an initial one-two punch of ‘Ur So Gay’ and ‘I Kissed a Girl’ I’m hard pressed to imagine her scandalizing anyone. I take what she does as ‘Oh, that’s what you’re doing now…okay’. Frankly Bon Apetit would play better for me if it was a shock and not just Katy Perry’s latest attempt at tee-hee burlesque.