Cat Cohen's Anatomy of a Hit a Hit in 2010

California Gurls by Katy Perry/Snoop Dogg

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2010’s hot dance groove hit ala Prince with an updated ode to California Dreaming, Surf City, and Hot Fun In The Summertime all rolled into one.

Song: California Gurls
Artist: Katy Perry/Snoop Dogg
Album: Teenage Dream
Songwriter: CC. Broadus, L. Gottwald, B. Levin, M. Martin, B. McKee, K. Perry
Producer: Dr. Luke, Max Martin, Benny Blanco

An homage to fun in the sun with hip, sensual lyrics, an infectious groove and enough hooks to catch a suntan on a west coast beach. The whimsical rap middle section only adds to the indulgence in summer pleasures.

The lyrics are filled with sexy double entendres, yet retain an attitude of innocent, almost fairytale fun. VERSE I know a place where the grass is really green Warm, wet & wild, there must be something in the water Sippin’ on a juice, laying under the palm trees (undone) The boys break their necks tryna act a little crazy (at us) You could travel the world but nothing comes close to the golden coast Once you party with us you’ll be falling in love, oh-oh, oh-oh, oh-oh California gurls, we’re unforgettable Daisy dukes with bikinis on top Sun-kissed beach so hot, will melt your popsicle, oh-oh, oh-oh California gurls, we’re undeniable Fine, fresh, fierce, we got it on lock West coast represent, now put your hands up, oh-oh, oh-oh

Based on a Prince rock-R&B groove reminiscent of his first hit “I Want To Be Your Lover”, this funky-rock dance feel with 8ths spiced with a few funky 16ths grabs and never lets go.

The verse melody of short repeated hooks is well contrasted with the longer phrased prechorus. The chorus rhythmic monotone is so infectious, it’s hard not to join in the joyful anthem.

Mostly diatonic triads, some over non-root tones in the bass. I/3 IV V vi iii7 vi ii7 V iii7 vi ii7

Easy to follow, just predictable enough to memorize without becoming mindless. A B C A B C D C Intro Verse Pre-Chorus Chorus Verse Pre-Chorus Chorus Rap Chorus Tag

Snoop Dogg invites the listener into this pop fun zone with a short welcoming phrase.

With dance-popmaster Max Martin most likely at the helm, the structure is seamless, the groove flawless, the electronic effects just enough to add ambience without being overly artificial.

Perry and Snoop’s performance have built-in campy smiles which go perfectly with the tongue-in-cheek video. “Gurls just want to have fun” and their male fairytale overseer/pursuer obviously can hardly wait to join them.

Predicted Longevity
A smash 2010 summer hit that will accompany people to the dance floor as well as to the beach, amusement parks, and assorted fun palaces for a long time. The very definition of pop ear candy.

Album Cover: Teenage Dream

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