Priyanka Chopra says she wants to be a real pop star. Don’t mistake this for an Indipop stint. She wants to sing in English and go global. She’s thrown lots of money and enthu behind her bid to do just that.
Sadly, if you scroll through some of the YouTube comments on her maiden single In My City you’ll find some loyal, if slightly displaced, Bollywood fans who soldier on into these unknown waters. Her global plan has failed. If you want to know why, try (I dare you) to watch the above video.
But the world needs more non-western global pop stars! So, Piggy must urgently get a-choppin’. Here is a comprehensive list of things and people she needs to dump as damage control:
1. Joseph Kahn who made the In My City video.
I don’t know if you noticed, PC, but YOUR CITY IS A GREEN SCREEN! With plasticky rickshaws and some abominably generic inhabitants.
2. Her Mariah Carey obsession.
It’s a tough market out there for any good-girl pop star without Adele’s voice. PC simply can’t afford to channel the stars she grew up listening to. Every major female pop star now has to be ‘edgy’ in some way. Kesha’s partying, Rihanna’s leather-tinged soul searching, MIA’s “third-world democracy”, Beyonce’s femi-womanism, Nicki Minaj’s talent-stricken self-exaltation, Lana Del Ray’s hipster nostalgia, Britney Spears’ blatant disinterest, Lady Gaga’s cultural referencing. PC needs either extreme competence or personality pyrotechnics. Fast.
3. All the robotic lyrics.
Hit singles come with all kinds of genre restrictions. But they don’t have to be the antithesis of creativity. Rhyming ‘city’ with ‘city’ and then rhyming that ‘city’ with…you guessed it, yet another ‘city’, this is just sad. I’m even tempted to sinisterly conclude that PC doesn’t believe that people can be emotionally affected by pop music.
4. A tie-up with the NFL .
She got the order wrong! You are supposed to establish yourself as a standalone artist and then have the NFL beg you to perform. Paying the NFL and producing photoshoots like this one reeks of unwanted collegiate springiness.
5. Americana aesthetics.
Leaning on a car while wearing a football jersey? Pop can happily contain high fashion or at least well-chosen clothes. As PSY proves every day, you don’t have be anxiously American to become a global star.
6. Her (h)aspirations .
“H-in my city”, “H-I know” blow towards you in Piggy’s transnational accent. No wonder this song wasn’t an ‘it’.
7. Every trace of this performance on Simi Garewal’s show.
8. Her choreography.
Enough sleep-zumba. Try the double sex crab.
9. Her collaboration with Pitbull .
It’s hard to think of a Pitbull song that defies this premise: me-on-the-dancefloor looking at you-on-the-dancefloor who is secretly pining for me-on-the-dancefloor. Pitbull will surely rob you of every shred of distinctiveness.
10. Any unironic pop song called Exotic.
Hexotic, though, might actually work. PC’s new single is on its way. There has to be a way to navigate these muddy intercultural waters without becoming an Orientalist sellout.