Ever wondered where Internet memes go to die?
Katherine St Asaph: Review without the video: Real nice sound, but no surprise from a Katy Perry track; real nice sax, but no Clarence; real ni– no, “epic fail” doesn’t get a compliment. Real edgy debauchery, but no fun when your credit’s wrecked from those maxed-out cards, your criminal record’s wrecked from those warrants, and your mind’s wrecked by trying to figure out what you did or didn’t do last night because the only witness you know of is a townie stranger named Julio whose car, a partygoer finally says, you entered with someone else who won’t talk to you. Review with the video: Fuck you, Katy Perry, and fuck your circus-freak geek characters. The only way to regain your morality is to delete and burn every hypocritical copy of “Firework” that exists in the universe. Or at least yank it off Vevo, like your pal Rebecca Black did. No? Thought not.
Jonathan Bogart: This is a rating for the song, which was my second-favorite off Teenage Dream way back in August and remains the second-best song Perry’s ever done. The video is like totally whatever (nerdface minstrelsy as practiced by the rich, beautiful, and famous is always going to be problematic), but the song, with its bouncy, swinging guitar strums and Ke$ha-lite proclamations of party-as-hedonistic-ritual, is glorious. And with all respect to the Big Man, the sax solo on “T.G.I.F.” is way more liberational, transcendant, and Fun™ than on “Edge of Glory.” Or maybe that’s just my old no-wave-loving soul peeking through; there haven’t been nearly enough James Chance homages in the Top Ten lately.
Michelle Myers: In which Katy Perry discusses a wild night of partying in such vague and trite terms that you wonder if she’s ever been to a party in her entire life. I liked this song (marginally) better when it was called “Waking Up In Vegas.” At least that had some lyrical specificity.
Zach Lyon: Think I need a ginger ale. That was such an epic fail. Think I need a ginger ale. That was such an epic fail. Think I need a ginger ale. That was such an epic fail. Think I need a ginger ale. That was such an epic fail. Think I need a ginger ale. That was such an epic fail. Think I need a ginger ale. That was such an epic fail. Think I need a ginger ale. That was such an epic fail. Think I need a ginger ale. That was such an epic fail. Think I need a ginger ale. That was such an epic fail. Think I need a ginger ale. That was such an epic fail. Think I need a ginger ale. That was such an epic fail. Think I need a ginger ale. That was such an epic fail. Think I need a ginger ale. That was such an epic fail. Think I need a ginger ale. That was such an epic fail. Think I need a ginger ale. That was such an epic fail. Think I need a ginger ale. That was such an epic fail. Katy Perry, I’m only going to say this once: when you overenunciate every single word, that means people actually have to listen to what you’re saying.
Dan Weiss: Like hashtag rap or Autotune, once you’ve adjusted to a world where the phrase “epic fail” marks everyday songwriting, it’s not so bad. Like when our good-enough hedonistic pop queen rhymes it with “Think I need a ginger ale.” But when she mumbles the lazy-not-(pr)evocative “Yeah I think we broke the law,” I demand to see the charges.
Michaela Drapes: I think I’ll always find this song endearing for rhyming ginger ale with epic fail. Yes, binge drinking is terrible, and people who party on Fridays are amateurs, but how can you possibly resist this ridiculous catalog of bad behavior when it’s so charmingly executed?
Anthony Easton: The never-ending sea of referents and ironic kitsch is a bait and switch in a song that seems more desperate than pleasurable.
Edward Okulicz: It’s impressive how, in keeping with Perry’s songwriting persona of being the sort of CRAZY girl who will do the first thing that comes into her head, she maintains consistency by throwing onto paper the first lyrics that come into her head. The woman is all fearless impulse, a wayward pleasure-seeker who doesn’t have a clue what she’s doing, what she’s saying, what she’s drinking and little things like narrative consistency – did you really have a ménage à trois and forget about kissing, Katy? – don’t bother her. Nor me, but I don’t need to hear the brain-dead “T.G.I.F.” bit or that awful plinky bass sound again, thanks.
Jer Fairall: The video is admittedly a hoot, or maybe I’m just relieved that its not another “Firework” or “E.T.”-grade atrocity, and the song itself is similarly elevated by severely diminished expectations. Which is to say that this is more easy-to-ignore bad rather than “ow, my freaking ears!” bad, cookie-cutter even by commercial pop standards, but just as easily digested and not nauseating if taken in tiny bites. But please don’t mistake this for progress.
Alfred Soto: Yet another song in which Perry is either the passive agent for someone else’s fantasy or refuses to accept responsibility, and her voice stinks like cigarette butts in warm beer.
B Michael Payne: “Last Friday Night” is like a feel-good version of every Ke$ha song, which makes it 100% awesome. Not really paying attention to the album’s singles release schedule, I can’t believe this song hasn’t been out for months (years?). It’s one of my favorite on the album, even if it continues to capitalize on the gross sexualization of Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl.” Withholding it until now also proved prescient, since it gets to enter into the Summer of Sax series of singles.
Matthew Harris: I’m still waiting for an apology from Katy for “UR So Gay,” so until then, I’m never going to look forward to one of her songs. Like “Teenage Dream,” everything starts out well in “TGIF” with its nice, organic guitar strum and hiccupy bass. Dr Luke and Co. are always careful to make you feel the weight and flick of the strings, and that love for detail tickles some delicate part of my reptile brain. But for all of the pop voltage that Luke commands, “TGIF” has the same sort of chorus-that-feels-like-a-pre-chorus that always makes me zone out on the treadmill when my gym plays “Teenage Dream.” I blame Perry, mostly. Her voice is plenty identifiable, but I’ve never been involuntarily disarmed by her ability to show hurt or rush risks. And Perry’s committee-written lyrics often seems to be describing places that market research has mathematically determined are “cool” to males and females aged 18-24 (“Epic fail,” “Ménage à trois,” seriously?). I know giddily describing nothing is pop music’s birthright. But Perry, baby, I want you to have a little more attitude doing it, gosh dammit.
Alex Ostroff: “Last Friday Night” is one of the handful of Teenage Dream‘s irritatingly catchy tracks that end up on the side of ‘catchy’ rather than ‘irritating’, but it doesn’t have the surprising funk of “California Gurls” or the unstoppable chorus of the title track. What it does have in its favour is one of Katy’s least awkward vocal turns in recent memory, with phrasing that nearly manages to convey an understanding of the song’s plot. Unfortunately, it also tries to rhyme “dark” with “ménage à trois,” and uses the phrase “EPIC FAIL!” Plus, after “I Gotta Feeling,” I harbour vague resentment towards any song that attempts to ensure its ubiquity in clubs and house parties by constantly repeating days of the week. Plus, I honestly think I like Rebecca Black’s “Friday” more.
Jonathan Bradley: I don’t particularly believe Katy Perry is supposed to be a real woman; her persona is better understood as our collective propensity for idiocy made corporeal. So! “T.G.I.F.!” spouts our drunken id, a corny blathered catchphrase that might also be the name of the chain restaurant in which this stupidity starts. It is the weekend, we are like “So what I’m drunk?” and we sha’n’t be judged, for tonight we have Perry as our patron saint, reassuring us that neither responsibility, nor self-respect, nor even simple human decency are reason to button ourselves down. Damn those who would say pop should be enriching. Tonight, we will not allow the world to persuade us that pleasure is wrong, even if that pleasure involves five-minutes-past-its-use-by-date Internet slang. Perry is our pink glitter golem into which we can pour our dumbest selves, an Übermensch of ill-advised behaviors, a dazed, grinning reminder that even when we are at our most unforgivably indulgent, we will regain sense and sobriety. Katy Perry, on the other hand, will be Katy Perry forever.
Hazel Robinson: With this on heavy rotation on the music channels, I found myself watching it five times yesterday morning and every fucking time I thought “Oh, you know what, Katy Perry’s quite fun, isn’t she? I’d probably go on a night out with her. Oh look, Rebecca Black — aw.” And then it would get to the “T.G.I.F.” and that new friend you’d made would turn out to be a total fucking moron.