HOT AND SAPPY: Inspira-Pop

Once upon a time (a time called the '90s), the public demanded punky, angst-ridden, rebellious music that conveyed a sense of self-loathing and isolation. There were discordant guitar chords, guttural vocals, and greasy hair. But Kurt Cobain has been replaced by the musical analogue to Stuart Smalley: today's pop hits sound like they've been lifted from the pages of self-help books. After a rash of bullied teens' suicides, a slew of songstresses chimed in with feel-good chart-toppers. In "Born This Way," Lady Gaga declared that God doesn't make mistakes. Katy Perry spun an extended metaphor for inner light in "Firework." Ke$ha cashed in on the trend with "We R Who We R," and Pink reminded us that we're all "Fuckin' Perfect." If only troubled teens could learn to be more like their lily-white, internationally renowned, filthy rich, skinny yet big-breasted role models. Maybe then they could learn to accept themselves for who they really are. And isn't it ironic? Don't you think?