Hidden meanings to song lyrics have fascinated fans for ages. From Bonnie Tyler’s power ballad “Total Eclipse of the Heart” originally being called “Vampires in Love” to the The Beatle’s track Lucy in The Sky With Diamonds and the ongoing debate to whether it referenced LSD.
A Night Out?
This was certainly the case with Katy Perry’s 2008 hit single “I Kissed a Girl”. Not exactly subtle in it’s messaging, the song explores Katy’s night out. Partying with friends, the song talks about her “boyfriend” but includes a chance encounter with a girl that very quickly turns into something unexpected. Katy has an encounter with a girl at the bar that sets the tone for the song...
“I kissed a girl and I liked it
The taste of her cherry ChapStick
I kissed a girl just to try it
I hope my boyfriend don't mind it”
So...not ChapStick then?
But was there a hidden meaning to the phrase Cherry Chapstick? Was the taste of the girls ChapStick on her lips what Katy Perry was talking about? According to Joyscribe that is most definitely not the case. The article alleges that Perry is not talking about ChapStick lipbalm at all, but rather what Joyscribe euphemistically calls “a lady’s coin purse”. Or rather, her genitals.
But what does Katy say?
And has the singer herself had anything to say about the controversy? Well yes, she did. Maybe it left more questions than answers though. During her acceptance speech at the 2017 Human Rights Campaign Gala Dinner, receiving the National Equality Award Perry was quoted as saying:
'I’m just a singer-songwriter, honestly. I speak my truths, and I paint my fantasies into these little bite-size pop songs. For instance, I kissed a girl and I liked it. Truth be told, I did more than that.'
Ahead of it's time
The open bisexual messaging of the song could be seen as ahead of it’s time in 2008, although it has garnered some controversy since. Katy Perry herself has said that she has some regrets about the song, as it contains many stereotypes and she has grown since then.
Whether you think the song is raunchy and making nsfw references, or you choose to believe it is an innocent and heady ChapStick flavoured kiss, it is hard to deny that this tune definitely raised a few eyebrows in 2008.