Katy Perry ‘Unplugged’ – Better Plugged Back In

Nov 16th, 2009 // 20 Comments

After reviving Unplugged this summer, MTV has signed off on the release of first recording from the latest run—MTV Unplugged: Katy Perry is out tomorrow in standard and deluxe CD/DVD editions. View the trailer above, plus the re-imagined “I Kissed a Girl” after the jump. Anybody missing Auto-Tune right about now?

“I Kissed a Girl” unplugged

While Idolator has distinguished itself with articulate arguments against Katy Perry’s recordings (and photography), we think she deserves a little credit for exploring her songs from a new vantage point.

In Unplugged‘s best moments, her voice is surprisingly strong when you peel away the electro-style (over?-) production, and it’s refreshing to see Perry perform without wearing a ridiculous costume or riding a phallic stage piece.

Reviving “I Kissed a Girl” as a loungy come-hither tune was actually kind of rewarding, and not the worst thing to do with an overplayed song that everyone knows frontwards and backwards already. The former Katheryn Hudson‘s off-kilter personality still shines during the song breaks, and on a few songs, we get to see Katy showcase her skills as a guitarist, something she probably should show off more often than her legs.

But the problem is that not enough of her repertoire works without the studio embellishments. Even though the unplugged “Waking up in Vegas” sneaks in some nice vocals from her band, her own voice is—what’s the word?—”pitchy.” “Ur So Gay” sounds pretty much the same unplugged as it does on the album, though the whistling during the chorus is sorely missing. “Brick By Brick” suffers the least since there’s no other version to compare it to.

Are any of these songs going to replace their glossy originals? Not really, but if you wanna decide for yourself, you can watch all the clips here, or wait til Friday November 27 when MTV airs a half-hour version of the taping. (Even by conservative definitions, that probably counts as airing music on the channel.)

Here’s one more which we’ve renamed “Waking Up in Starbucks”:

“Waking Up in Vegas” unplugged

  1. Andre

    To me a superb live performance by Katy and her musicians. COME ON JUST SAY IT! It is unplugged so it is raw music and voice. I saw her concert and she perfomed amazingly too. It is a pleasure to see that the pop princess rightly deserves her success!

  2. I don’t know if it’s because you aren’t required to login to post anymore, or if Idolator 2.0 is simply asking their friends/colleagues/themselves to comment, but man, the comments section has become depressing.

    Such banal commentary.

    Maura would be spinning in her grave to read the above comment (if she weren’t still alive).

  3. @dsven: Especially considering the tangled history Idolator 1.0 had with Katy Perry. “Andre” would cry.

  4. Well… she sure is… “different?” IDK I try to like Katy I really do (well not really) “Live” has never been her best thing, like ever. the I Kissed Girl got weird for me I was kind of like “hmm whats going on with her voice there, and there, and there?”.

  5. The Notorious T

    “While Idolator has distinguished itself with articulate arguments against Katy Perry’s recordings…”

    Uh…when? All I remember were pointless and hateful screeds against flighty pop music.



  7. Poubelle

    “Screeds against flight pop music”? I see somebody never read the old Idolator.

    Perry’s attempt at crooning is beyond lolworthy. All I get from this is how badly she needs that autotune. (Also, singing about fake IDs when you’re over legal age? OMG so ~edgy~)

    (Also, what’s with the starfish overkill in her hair? Is she a former mermaid? Is that why even when she wears a long skirt, she has to show off her legs? Is that why her voice is so bad–because she sold her real one to a sea-witch to become human?)

  8. @dsven: Maybe it’s an L.A. thing.

  9. I thought she sounded awsome. Very good voice. Talented lady.

  10. Dana

    People are so freakin spoiled by AutoTune. I long for the days when people didn’t use computers to make their voice sound better — they just practiced more. You can be damned sure half of the “artists” out there can’t hold a candle to the TALENTED Katy Perry without their precious software.

  11. Mhmm

    It’s not that bad, I mean I don’t like her music, but it sounds just as good as the album version…

  12. bill leheckla

    Oh deary me, actual music being played without some computer generated bullshit. My ears they have been offended.

    fuck off idolator. and go back to the level of hell you were expelled from auto tune.

  13. Scott

    I have been a musician for the majority of my life and see nothing wrong with this performance. Idolator asks if I am missing autotune while listening to this… ummm, no. She sounds just fine.

    Maybe this website is just running out of ideas and had to cook up some bullsh!t?

  14. Ryan

    I dont see a problem, it was good . the last video waking up in vegas was off but the back up singer was the problem there.

  15. Sounds like a pretty solid performance to me — it’s sad that so many people’s ears are tuned to artificially perfect pitch that they can’t listen to a natural performance any more. Katy & crew – well done on an imaginitive retooling of a well-known song!

  16. Dave

    Yeah, shut up article woman. The next article I read complaining about the production of a major-label artist’s cd is going to get set on fire. This performance was just straight up awesome!

  17. Steve

    Amazing performance. I came here for the Perry bashing but left very impressed!!! She definitely has exceptional voice talent and I will learn for now on not to pre judge people so quicky.

  18. z

    I didn’t hear anything ‘pitchy’. I would say that’s just her mannerisms. After recording everything live, the raw tracks get run through pro tools or DP or whatever they used and auto-tune IS used. Get informed Becky…

  19. T

    I know it’s been ages since it was released but i only recently found this album and i LOVE IT!

    What the hell, she doesnt need autotune; so she occasionally bends her voice? It makes the songs better. People just seem to hate her because she embraces pop to it’s full extent (maybe a little too much).

    Well done Katy, you’re far more talented than most singers!

  20. john

    This is autotuned, people. Want proof? Listen to the ‘yeah’ around 4.00.

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