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Ke$ha vs. Kylie vs. Gwen – Who wins?

New pop videos from Kylie, Ke$ha and No Doubt within the space of five minutes? YouTube are clearly trying to make the gay community explode like that time Mariah put a Cadbury’s Creme Faberge in the microwave...


Tuesday 25 September 2012 started off like any other ordinary Tuesday in London. People sat on the tube not looking at each other, tiredly turning the pages of their damp Metros, chipped nail varnish, pitifully opaque lunchboxes, teeth. Boris was sat at his leather-bound desk, feet up, playing a paintballing game on his iPad. The morning’s first boat tours began their lifeless dribble down the Thames – generic tourists in ponchos taking photographs of unsuspecting dockland workers. Gay commuters arrived at their offices, coffees on desks, Burberry bags beneath, all ready to start another normal day of earning taxes for a government that lovingly treats them as unequals. Then it hit. Central London began to vibrate with the resounding murmur of 500,000 gay men in wheelie chairs muttering “Oh my god” as their Facebook newsfeed forced them to choose between three potentially life-changing clicks:

Ke$ha – Die Young

Kylie Minogue – Flower

Gwen Stefani – Push And Show

Three very different women with three radically different approaches to life. (OK, we know that Gwen Stefani is technically currently part of her mix-gender band No Doubt from the 90s but let’s all be adults here – it’s the Gwen Show).

Like every other pop-lover, our eyes scanned across the thumbnails. Kylie was out-doing the others lying in ghostly monochrome across a bench, near-naked with her back turned like some kind of Wilhem von Gloeden model. Gwen Stefani’s YouTube channel controller had also opted for a black and white shot that showed Gwen leering on a riverbank at night with her *sigh* band mates as if they’re asking her to help them look for a chicken shop that was still open. Meanwhile Ke$ha was nowhere to be seen in her thumbnail. Perhaps she was behind the camera looking at her Coutts app, waiting for that poppers rush of when the bank balance starts rolling itself into a gradually extending blur.

So which did you choose? Overlooking the fact that Ke$ha might one day rule the world and use web analytics to work out who clicked on Kylie first, having them promptly guillotined, as believers in democracy and equality, we decided to open three Chrome tabs and began to play all three songs at once. Give it a go:







Ke$ha’s razor-sharp twang gets off to a good head start, aided by several thousand pounds worth of electronic voice tweaking. But then Gwen Stefani’s super slick ska-dub beat begins to steal the show, tearing away at Ke$ha’s less accomplished Fisher Price guitar riff. Somewhere in the murky distance Kylie’s voice can be heard but it turns out Flower is a bloody ballad not a knees-up orange-visor Kylie number and so we swiftly realise she doesn’t stand a chance in this competition. She looks nice though, floating around in that lake, brushing her fingertips against a bit of field. Still, the vocals sound like an old lady humming to herself in the back of a garden centre. Let’s press pause on Kylie and come back to her when the album's out.

SO – Ke$ha vs. Gwen. It doesn’t help that Ke$ha’s has released a lyric video. Presumably they're still adding more glitter on PhotoShop to the real video, but until then Gwen takes full advantage, staring right at her camera, snarling and scraping her face with manicured nails while Major Lazer (good collab choice) does his bit. Let’s pause No Doubt for a second and focus on Ke$ha...

So she's remodelled herself for the current pop climate with a song that sounds like a One Direction Nintendo game, pulling up a throne for herself at the top of the charts with Nicki Minaj before Katy Perry comes back from the loo. Clever Ke$ha. She knows how to shift records and right now she’s targeting the newbies out there who have come of pop age (11) since her last stint. Die Young is going to be a big hit, it’s relentlessly catchy and sufficiently meaningless. Still, we can’t help but feel she’s let us older fans down by softening the knife edge a bit, where are the power synths, the kick drums the cameos from James Van Der Beek, the copying Uffie? We want more Blow bitch.

Right, so Ke$ha off, let’s put Gwen back on...

OK, now THIS is proper pop music. Wow. No Doubt effortlessly infuse rock, dance and R&B. They've been in the game long enough to not care about kids' pocket money. These guys are playing for an adult fanbase. We take our words back, the band do add something – rhythm, energy and kudos. With the boys in the back Gwen is a much tougher pop act than Kylie or Ke$ha right now. The video is really strong too. Who needs Kylie’s floaty H&M homage to Pre-Raphaelitism when you can have Gwen Stefani smashing herself against a dockland crate with 15 bracelets on?

The song Push And Shove is brilliant, an impressive second single to join their summer smash Settle Down. No Doubt have done it again. Lady Gaga’s pre-occupied with her tour and Gwen’s coming to dinner. Meanwhile Kylie’s has gone from the explosive streets of Soho in Timebomb – which we loved – to being lost in Center Parks, which we don't love quite as much. Someone’ll pick her up we’re sure. And as for YOU Miss Ke$ha Rose Serbert – we want a bit more welly next time you hand in homework please, we know you can do it. Perez Hilton might like your new single, but we want a bit more Ke$ha for our dollar, thanks.

WORDS: Jack Cullen

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