Release date: June 2008
One of the Boys is the second studio album by American singer-songwriter Katy Perry and her major-label debut. Her change in record label and adoption of a pseudonymous surname accompanies a notable shift from the Christian gospel rock of her self-titled debut album. The album was released on June 17, 2008 by Capitol Records. The album features the Billboard Hot 100 number one single "I Kissed a Girl", as well as "Hot n Cold", "Waking Up in Vegas", and "Thinking of You". The album earned Perry two Grammy Award nominations in 2009 and 2010, and has sold over 5.2 million copies worldwide.
Perry has stated that she had been working on the album since she was eighteen years old. During the making of the album Perry was dropped from two record labels and went through two canceled albums. During this time, Perry had written close to seventy songs. While recording the album Katy Perry collaborated with such noted producers like Ballard (Alanis Morissette, No Doubt), Dave Stewart (Eurythmics), Dr. Luke (Kelly Clarkson, Avril Lavigne), Butch Walker (Pink, The Donnas), Sam Hollander & Dave Katz (Gym Class Heroes), Greg Wells (Mika, Natasha Bedingfield, Rufus Wainwright), and Max Martin (Britney Spears). Perry co-wrote every song on the album as well as writing three of the songs on her own.
Once signed to Capitol, label head Jason Flom started work on a new album by convincing Dr Luke to go back into the studio with Perry, with the two having already worked together on the abandoned Columbia sessions. Together with Max Martin they wrote and cut "I Kissed A Girl" and "Hot n Cold". Perry then collaborated again with Greg Wells, who she'd also worked with on the Columbia album, creating the songs "Ur So Gay" and "Mannequin". According to Perry's A&R Chris Anokute they ended up with five new songs and then chose the six best songs from the shelved Columbia album to compile "One of the Boys".
The album was preceded by a digital EP, Ur So Gay, in late 2007. The video for the song premiered in early 2008. Madonna said in her interview on KISS FM that the song became her "favorite song right now." 'Ur So Gay' has been criticized for alleged homophobia. "[Gay]'s not a negative connotation. It's not 'you're so gay', like 'you're so lame', but the fact of the matter is that this boy should've been gay. I totally understand how it could be misconstrued or whatever… I wasn't stereotyping anyone in particular, I was talking about ex-boyfriends," Katy responded to the critical claims.
The single 'Ur So Gay' did not chart on the US hot 100, but it reached number 1 on the US Hot Dance Singles Sales, and number 2 on the US Hot Singles Sales.
When talking about the songs on the album "One of the Boys", Perry said that she released the single "Ur So Gay" as an introduction to the album: "The album will have a lot of the same characteristics [as "Ur So Gay"], though. There will be lots of storytelling, because lyrics are important to me. There are a few songs that will make you cry, but there are others to make you dance and sing. Every song is on the album for a specific reason.
The first single, 'I Kissed A Girl' was released May 6, 2008 but it debuted on ITunes on April, 29. It debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 at number 76, but it reached the top spot just two months later. Generally the song spent most of the summer at the number 1 spot becoming the hit in 20 countries. The single was number 1 for seven weeks that was equal to the record set by the Beatles. 'I Kissed A Girl' received five MTV VMA nominations.
The song brought a wave of controversy due to its explicit promotion of homosexuality. "Some people have taken 'I Kissed A Girl' the wrong way, but others seem to get the joke. In the UK, it's been great. The British have a warped sense of humor, just like I do." Katy Perry said. "I'm not trying to tell people to do things. I'm not campaigning. It's a song about curiosity. It's about something that a lot of girls have thought about, but probably not carried through." "I have kissed a girl, but I'm not a lesbian. I have a boyfriend. I just didn't want to sing another typical relationship song."
The second single, 'Hot N Cold,' was released September 9, 2008. It reached number 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 just nine days after the release. In a month it was number 5 on the Hot 100 becoming Perry's second consecutive top 5 single.
The third single, 'One of The Boys,' was released November 3, 2008 debuting on an Australian radio show.
Video for 'Thinking of You' debuted on Christmas, and 'Waking Up In Vegas' was presented in April 2009.
Although the musical style and way of compose ironic and bawdy songs of Perry being heavily compared to the style of singers Avril Lavigne and Lily Allen, the singer was influenced by artists and bands like Queen (Freddie Mercury in particular), The Beach Boys, Heart, Joni Mitchell, Paul Simon, Cyndi Lauper and Alanis Morissette. All songs on the album were written by Perry - who was assisted by musicians Greg Wells, Max Martin, Dr. Luke, Cathy Dennis, Desmond Child, Andreas Carlsson, Dave Katz, Sam Hollander, Ted Bruner, Scott Cutler, Anne Preven, Dave Stewart and Glen Ballard - and are performing in a tone of Contralto. She said the lyrics mean a lot to her, so the album would have several stories being told and some songs to "make you cry, but others to make you dance and sing". About these opposites, she added, "I think people can appreciate a songwriter who shows different sides. [...] I have put everything on this album, and I feel as if it were my baby".
Her first EP, which belongs to the album, "Ur So Gay", was composed as a tool of revenge of the singer with her ex-boyfriend. Her second single I Kissed a Girl also became a controversial topic to be addressed as a lesbian homosexuality. The song was inspired by actress Scarlett Johansson. In the second single Hot N Cold, Perry discusses the theme of indecision and the ups and downs of the relationship. Other songs like "I'm Still Breathing" and "Thinking of You" (both in style ballad) reported on relationships that did not work. According to the singer, "Lost" is the most personal song on the album, because its theme is similar to the biographical events of the singer. "Waking Up in Vegas" deals with eccentric and crazy trips with friends to Las Vegas. Just like "Ur So Gay" and "Hot N Cold", the songs "Mannequin" and "If You Can Afford Me" are both about relationships with ex-boyfriends.
Upon its release, the singer has been heavily criticized for her song, "Ur So Gay", considered by the site The New Gay to be homophobic. The author of the publication added, "It's time for Katy Perry to stop talking nonsense" because "the song trots out a number of tired gay stereotypes to condemn one of Perry's ex-boyfriends and includes a paradoxical chorus". The editor of British magazine content lesbian Diva Jane Czyzselska, commented in an article in The Guardian that "Perry's song is a rather sweet, refreshing antidote to the avalanche of overtly sexualised boy-grinds-girl songs." She promoted the song in Portugal, and it wasn't very well received by public. Her first single, "I Kissed a Girl" became a huge controversy worldwide.
Despite the context, Perry is heterosexual. She has been strongly criticized by the LGBT community, who believe that the singer used music to make money and not on behalf of homosexuals, and by some supporters of traditional moral values who claim that music leads the girls to be lesbian. The song was criticized by the local headquarters of the evangelical Havens Corners Church, which has set the following sentence in their garden in September 2008: "I kissed a girl and liked it. So I went to hell."
One of the Boys debuted at number nine on the US Billboard 200 with 47,000 copies sold in the first week released. The album has shipped and sold over 1.2 million copies, earning a platinum certification from the Recording Industry Association of America. The album has been on the chart for 81 weeks. In Canada, the album debuted at number 10 and peaked at number six. It has since been certified double platinum by the CRIA.
In the United Kingdom, the album debuted and peaked at number eleven on the UK Albums Chart. It has since been certified Platinum. In Australia debuted at number eleven, the album has been certified platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association, with over 70,000 copies sold. In New Zealand, the album debuted and peaked at number seventeen. It has since been certified Gold, shipping over 10,000 copies.