Bonnie McKee’s “American Girl”: The Grand Return Of A Songwriting Superstar


Bonnie McKee is the definition of pop radio gold.

For the past three years, the (drop dead) beautiful singer-songstress has had a hand in penning the best that pop music has to offer — from Katy Perry‘s Teenage Dream (including “California Gurls,” “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)” and the immaculate title track, which remains one of the best pop songs of the decade), to a bulk of Godney‘s Femme Fatale including “Inside Out,” “How I Roll” and “Hold It Against Me,” the launchpad for dub-pop on Top 40 radio, and the greatest song of 2011. (Really, just watch her perform a mini-medley of all the hits she wrote.)

Time and time again, she’s proven herself to be one of the best songwriters in the business. And now, she’s preparing to serve up another smash…for herself.

Rewind, for just a moment: Bonnie actually started her career as a singer-songwriter years prior with a pop-rock record called Trouble back in 2004, consisting of tracks she’d been working on since her (actual) teenage dreamy years. Despite harnessing some attention upon its release however, including a feature on the soundtrack for Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!, the album mostly flew under the mainstream radar.

It wasn’t until a meeting with Dr. Luke (due in part to her longstanding friendship with her BFF Katy) that she got her big break by teaming up and crafting tracks for what would become Teenage Dream in 2010, quickly leading her to become one of the most sought-after songwriters in the industry in a matter of months.

But after a few years of serving up solid pop, McKee’s been steadily preparing material for herself on the side. And after months of delays and setbacks, the re-debut of Bonnie McKee has finally begun with “American Girl.”

McKee’s one smart cookie, having seen how this industry works over the past few years: Not only is the song available as a free download (good move), but she’s enlisted all of her A-list BFFs, including Katy, Adam Lambert, Carly Rae Jepsen, Joan Rivers, Jewel (!), Ke$ha, KISS and Macklemore, to lipsynch for their life in the accompaying video for the über-catchy summer banger. She’s effectively created a viral video — before the thing’s even gone viral. (Seriously, the KatyCats will be gagging in seconds.)

But beyond marketing strategies (“It’s not about marketing, it’s about being cool!” as a certain legend once said), the song itself is a total smash.

“American Girl” might as well be the next single in waiting from Teenage Dream or Ke$ha‘s Warrior, full of punchy, guitar-driven hooks, slamming synthesizers and supremely crafted earworm melodies. It’s big, beautiful and bold — just like a song called “American Girl” should sound.

“I’m an American girl! / Hot blooded and I’m ready to go! / I’m loving taking over the world,” she declares. And just look at the pop radio charts over the past three years: She really is taking over. Could there be a fiercer statement?

(Seriously, the line “I was raised by a television” alone…)

Bonnie better start packing her bags, ’cause she’s heading to the top of the charts again. But this time, she’s going up all on her own.

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