Katy Perry borrows beats from Russian duo

You have probably heard Katy Perry’s new song “E.T.” on the radio or perhaps in a sweaty basement at your friend’s neighbor’s house party. If not, go take a listen. Sound familiar? Feel a certain nostalgia creeping in at the edges of your consciousness but you’re not sure why? Yeah, that is because it sounds strikingly like the Russian band t.A.T.u.’s great 2002 hit “All the Things She Said.” You might remember the video, which sparked the fantasies of thousands of middle school boys — and perhaps your own, dear reader — in which two girls in school uniforms get hot and heavy during a rainstorm, while their peers and community members judge them from the other side of a fence. I actually kind of like “E.T.,” but I can’t help but want to go and listen to “All the Things She Said” every time I hear it — everyone knows the sequel is never as good as the original. I find Kanye West’s contribution to the song to be especially ironic in light of the nature of t.A.T.u.’s song. I don’t think Kanye West’s promise of alien sex — “Imma disrobe you/then imma probe you” — would fly with a burgeoning lesbian struggling to be accepted by her family and friends. I feel that it is slightly messed up of Katy to take such a heavy song and exploit its sound to make a hefty wad of cash on a catchy song about the usual themes of love and sex. Then again, t.A.T.u. apparently thought it was okay to use Catholic school uniforms — rendered see-through by pouring rain — to make their own wad of cash, so maybe it’s unfair to judge. Now, I understand song adaptation is nothing new. Songs that sound like other songs have been filling the airwaves — and my iPod — for years. But this isn’t just the same beat, nor is it the reuse of a common melody. These songs have a certain distinctive sound, and it is the same one. Furthermore, the songs came out within the same decade. If you want to hear two songs that sound exactly alike, go listen to “Fergalicious” and JJ Fad’s song “Supersonic.” Feel shocked, and kind of swindled by miss Fergie-ferg? Yeah, so did I. But at least she and her “people” had the decency to wait 18 years to pull the wool over the public’s eyes. Katy Perry waited half that time, which isn’t really long enough for the people who listened to the first song to no longer be cool. It doesn’t really pack the same punch when your mom tells you that the song on the radio sounds just like some song she used to listen to “back in the day.” Perry claims that the song was inspired by her then-fiancé Russell Brand, according to MTV news, but I’m not buying it. Really Katy? Are you sure it wasn’t inspired by your youthful fantasies about other females, sparked by the video to “All the Things She Said?” Remember, this is the singer whose first career-starting single was about kissing a girl and liking it. Maybe I’m being a bit harsh, though. Adaptation is nothing new — go read Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice” and Marlowe’s “The Jew of Malta” if you need some convincing  — and “All the Things She Said” — as I’ve been noticing lately from dozens of “E.T.”-inspired listens — is a good song. Who wouldn’t want to capitalize on some of that subconscious nostalgia? It makes me wonder, though, when I look at it topping charts like the Billboard Hot 100 — are the people gobbling up the new Katy Perry song, perhaps, the same people who felt all hot and bothered by “All the Things She Said” in their early adolescence?