If You Can Afford Me
Label: Capitol Records
We're going to try to discuss Katy Perry's debut without mentioning anything gay, which isn't going to be easy since Perry's made her career with two camp-lite, Sapphic-sampling singles. But we think there's more to Perry than shtick (besides, the gay-for-pay gimmick got old 'round about t.A.T.u.): Girlfriend knows her way around a sassy pun ("Mannequin") and, honey, what a diva ("If You Can Afford Me"). And she sings like the love child of Melissa Etheridge, k.d. lang and an anonymous sperm donor, all heart-on-her-sleeve power and showy subtlety. Actually, Katy, maybe Ur so gay.