The Atlantic

Rita Ora's 'Girls': The Same-Sex Pop of the Past

A song-of-the-summer contender about women kissing women is being received as anything but progressive.
Source: Atlantic Records

When girls kiss girls in pop music, it’s for a drunken taste of chapstick. Or out of jealousy for an ex-boyfriend. Or to shock a TV-viewing audience. Whether the example is Katy Perry or Little Big Town or Madonna, music’s most famous depictions of same-sex female romance typically treat it as a dare, a dalliance, a performance—rather than an expression of real desire.

It speaks to a transitional, “Girls,” for contributing to that shallow tradition rather than, as the creators might have wanted, getting praised for subverting straightness. A clear aspirant to song-of-the-summer status, it features a quartet of buzzy names—Ora, Charli XCX, Bebe Rexha, and Cardi B—singing and rapping about hooking up with women. On the surface, the song would seem to say that the march of queer acceptance is continuing apace. Ora told that the track is an anthem of “freedom for anyone who listens to it.”

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