In a music industry full of dynamite female acts, who reigns supreme as the ultimate pop goddess? It’s a daunting question, but we are determined to find the answer. Let’s get ready to rumble, because the next round of VH1?s Pop Queen Faceoff continues! Today we’re pitting two of music’s biggest divas — Beyonce and Katy Perry— against each other for one glitter-soaked cat fight. Who will come out on top? You decide!
[Artwork: Madelyn Somers]
They Don’t Call Her Queen B For No Reason
Dear .0001 of the world’s population,
I am addressing the very few who need to be convinced that Beyonce Knowles is the Queen of Pop. First off, ask any random person within a foot from where you are standing and he or she will tell you that Beyonce has changed lives. Beyonce is the undisputed Queen of Pop because of she is the greatest entertainer of this generation, she is an impeccable role model and an irreplaceable staple in pop culture. Her 2014 reign alone is enough to destroy any other struggle pop princess’ career and the year isn’t even over yet.
On December 13, 2013 at 12AM EST, Beyonce decided to quietly release her self-titled album on iTunes with no single, no promotion and no warning. This moment in history has been referred to as “pulling a Beyonce”. For example, “Will Katy Perry pull a Beyonce for the release of her next album?” Now, that’s just an example and not an actual question posed to Perry because there is no one else on earth (female, male, animal, superhero) who could ever successfully pull off what Bey did that fateful night. Beyonce became the fastest-selling album worldwide in the iTunes Store and set the record for the largest week ever for an album. Beyonce contained 14 songs, 17 music videos and endless dance moves and phrases people incorporate in their everyday lives. This album jump started her wildly successful reign in 2014 starting with:
Mrs. Carter TourThe year-long Mrs. Carter tour ran a total of 132 shows on almost every continent on the planet.
On The Run Tour
Only a few months after the end of Mrs. Carter, Bey and hubby Jay Z went on their On The Run tour and hit up over 20 cities world wide.
MTV Video Vanguard Award Recipient
Beyonce received the 2014 Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award, which is only given to “exemplary musicians who have made an incredible and long-lasting impact on pop culture.” Former Video Vangaurd Award winners include Justin Timberlake and of course, Michael Jackson.
Forbes: #1 Most Powerful CelebrityQueen B beat out Oprah, Lebron James, Ellen DeGeneres and Jay Z for the top spot.
In addition to being ridiculously talented, Beyonce is also an outstanding role model. This year alone, Bey launched a new charity campaign with Prince Charles’ The Prince’s Trust organization to create #BeyGood, a charity to help young people in the UK who are in need. She also donated $500,000 to another charity she helped create called Chime for Change, an organization that raises funds to promote education, health and justice for girls and women. When she’s not being proactive about changing the world, she’s mending relationships within her family. At this year’s Met Gala, her younger sister Solange and husband Jay Z got into a widely publicized fight in an elevator. As the world began to attack Solange for her erratic behavior, big sister Bey came to the rescue to make sure the public knew Solange was loved and had full support from her family. She Instagrammed cute photos of the two and released the “Flawless Remix” featuring Nicki Minaj to tell the world that hey, all families have issues– the same goes for really ridiculous rich families who happen to be famous. But at the end of the day, we love each other so we make up and move on.Queen B has countless of contributions to pop culture. Here are just a few:
– We be all night
– I’ve been drankin
– Wake up, flawless
– I woke up like dis
– She called Nicki Minaj by her government name on the “Flawless Remix”.
– She inspired The Beygency
– Donned the cover of Times’ 100 Most Influential People issue.The list can go on….
Holding the title of Queen of Pop means so much more than just a successful music career. But if it came down to just music, Beyonce would own that category too. Queen B has proved (in 2014 alone) that the title of “Queen” is without question, hers and hers to keep. She’s an incredible entertainer, inspiring role model and largely important in pop culture. Her fans, young and old, would also agree.
Katy Cats, where you at!?
Katy Perry (2010)
Katy’s Your Queen Whether You Like It or Not
I’ll admit I was initially not a fan of Katy Perry. I know this is supposed to be an argument for why she’s our number one pop singer — and I’ll get to my reasons why she is — but I think it’s fair to acknowledge the detractors out there, especially of the singer’s early years. When she first blasted onto the scene with her excited screeches about kissing a girl, I was nonplussed. And I’ll admit, I didn’t really get it. Why was she any different from any of the pop divas in rotation on the radio? Yet, as Perry’s voice evened out and her writing became succinct, I found that I was a fan. It was almost hard not be by 2010 when she launched into her multi-year reign as music’s queen of pop with the unstoppable album, Teenage Dream. And that’s where anyone would be challenged to deny that Perry is not their queen.
Largely what converted me into a Perry fan, a Katy Cat if you will, was her sophomore album. A combination of pop, rock, EDM, hip-hop, and disco, Perry took all the best elements of every genre she could get her hands on and blended them into a delicious pop confection.
More importantly, Perry surrounded herself with a powerhouse of producers and songwriters who not only wrote songs within her range but also perfected her signature pop sound. Hit-makers in their own right, Dr. Luke, Bonnie McKee, and Benny Blanco owe a lot of their continued success to the moldable voice and character they got with Perry. On the album, she was sweet with a bite (“California Gurls”), naughty with a wink (“Peacock”), smooth but raw when ready (“Teenage Dream,” “Firework”). In short: It was — and still is — damn good pop music.
In the span of a year, Teenage Dream was supported by five number-one songs and set a record for having the most multi-platinum singles from one album. There was no escaping Perry even if you tried. You were hers and she was unapologetic about taking over YouTube, the radio, the charts, and every magazine cover.
Since then, she’s championed her bubblegum pop image into a (sustainable) multi-billion dollar empire that everyone wants a piece of. From Katy Perry: Part of Me to her multiple world tours and writing hits for other artists, she’s cashing in on the “feel good” capital she’s effectively cultivated with one album (and furthered by the release of Prism).
When it comes down to it, that’s what is the key to why Perry is so undeniable. It’s that feeling she creates. Sure it’s cheeky, but Perry is so much fun. There’s a general sense of joy that washes over you when you listen to her music. It may be light on deeper emotions (hey, we’re not all halo-ing) but she strikes that chord when necessary. Songs like “Teenage Dream” hit on all those warm, fuzzy feelings and combine an unrequited yearning with a since of nostalgia. It’s relatable. And it’s why that record will probably be among her best, if not her number one single of her career.
And if there was one song I’d submit as a showcase of who Perry is and what she offers the pop world, it’s “Teenage Dream.” (Besides, without it, we wouldn’t have Glee star Darren Criss.)