Been hearing this song nonstop on the radio on my drive to university. (Sean’s 7-year daughter has memorized the lyrics.) Today, while I was sweating it out at the YMCA, I saw the new “official” music video for “Roar” and it’s a send-up of Tarzan and Jungle Book, using some of the most tired old Mowgli and monkeys tropes:
Ah, I see. Her old-timey plane crashed. In the JUNGLE. And it’s sort of Indian-African jungle combo. Because it can’t be one or the other, surely – that’s too complicated to separate out our colonial jungle fantasies. Then she puts on a fruity loin-cover so that we see that she has transformed herself, via the magical strength that edenic places like the Indian jungle give white women with low self-esteem. Someone tell Katy’s makeup artist that using too much bronzer and dying her hair jet black does not a native make.
The rest of the time is spent roaring away, in a display of her new-found strength. At one point, she even roars away some stick-figure natives carrying bows and arrows (the scene employs cave-drawing aesthetics – because people in jungle are still drawing hunting scenes on cave walls). Maybe the stick figure hunters run away because she hadn’t brushed her teeth in the jungle, either. Then there are some cutesy hijinks of her pet monkey standing on her shoulder, sticking its arse in her face, etcetera.
I only wish that her personal life really reflected the lyrics, which begin with explaining how subservient she was to men:
“I used to bite my tongue and hold my breath / scared to rock the boat and make a mess,” etcetera. “I guess I forgot I had a choice / I let you push me past the breaking point …”
Then move towards expressing her intent to change all that:
“… But now you’re gonna hear me roar…”
Tell that to ex-husband and self-proclaimed sex addict Russell Brand (whom she claims hasn’t ”heard from him since he texted me saying he was divorcing me December 31, 2011″ and her on-again-off-again man of the moment and serial dater John Mayer, who may not have got that memo from the jungle.