Katy Perry’s “California Gurls” vs. Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind”


Ah, Katy Perry: a woman whose mouth is always writing checks her music can’t cash. As Vulture reminds us, the “I Kissed a Girl” promised Rolling Stone that her new song “California Gurls” (which better not be a “September Gurls reference…”) would be Los Angeles’ very own answer to Jay-Z and Alicia Keys’ instant classic “Empire State of Mind.” Now that a demo version of the song has made its Internet debut, we’re comparing the two songs to see how Perry’s stacks up. Listen to both and follow along after the jump, as we re-ignite the East Coast/West Coast wars.

Katy Perry feat. Snoop Dogg — “California Girls”


Jay-Z feat. Alicia Keys — “Empire State of Mind” ytaudio(0UjsXo9l6I8)

Guest Star “Empire State of Mind” – Alicia Keys, who has some of the most powerful pipes in the business

“California Gurls” – Snoop Dogg, in the news most recently for lending his voice to cars’ GPS devices

Opening “Empire State of Mind” – “Yeah, I’m out that Brooklyn/Now I’m down in Tribeca /Right next to DeNiro/But I’ll be hood forever.”

“California Gurls” – “Greetings, loved ones. Let’s take a journey.”

Hook “Empire State of Mind” – The best pop-song hook in recent memory.

“California Gurls” – Can we be the first to say that all this “ooh” and “aah” and bouncy, aggressive, canned backbeat shit sounds a whole lot like Ke$ha? Not a compliment, Perry.

Inspiration Factor “Empire State of Mind” – On particularly emotional days, we have been known to shed a tear while listening to this song (usually as we cross the Manhattan Bridge on the train home from work).

“California Gurls” – If discussion of Daisy Dukes, bikinis, and sex on the beach don’t make you want to realize your dreams, then you’re SOL.

City Sales Pitch “Empire State of Mind” – Aside from the immortal “concrete jungle that dreams are made of”? “Welcome to the melting pot/Corners where we selling rocks/Afrika Bambaataa shit/Home of the hip hop/Yellow cab, gypsy cab, dollar cab, holla back/For foreigners it ain’t fair/They act like they forgot how to add/8 million stories out there and they’re naked/Citiy, it’s a pity half of y’all won’t make it.” Not always pretty, but isn’t that part of why we love New York?

“California Gurls” – “I know a place where the grass is really greener/… There must be something in the water/Sippin’ gin and juice/Layin’ underneath the palm trees.”

Winner: You’ve kidding, right? Listen, we have nothing against L.A., but maybe they should find someone better to rep them… We suggest Axl.