American Girl

Album: released as a single (2013)
Charted: 87
  • Singer-songwriter Bonnie McKee described this lead single from her second album as a "summer banger" with "big, splashy, colorful lyrics."

    The lyric comes from her adolescent experience: she really did fall in love at a 7-11 while loitering in the parking lot. (In America, this was a popular weekend activity for underage kids in the '80s and '90s). She won't say who she fell in love with, but says she still knows him.
  • Bonnie McKee is better known for the hits that she's penned for such leading pop stars as Katy Perry ("California Gurls") Taio Cruz ("Dynamite") and Britney Spears ("Hold It Against Me"). So with all the contact numbers McKee must have on her phone, it was of no surprise that she recruited a galaxy of famous faces to appear in the song's video. They include Katy Perry (in her pj's), Kesha, KISS, Macklemore (in his bathtub), Adam Lambert, Carly Rae Jepsen, Jewel, Tommy Lee of Mötley Crüe, Jason Derulo, Karmin, Taio Cruz, Nicole Scherzinger, Becky G, Lance Bass of 'N Sync, comedian Joan Rivers, and Star Trek actor George Takei. Naturally, McKee's in the clip too - that's her eating a cheeseburger and a popsicle. Justin Francis directed.
  • Tom Petty had a song called "American Girl" and Carrie Underwood had the country-tinged "All American Girl," but Bonnie McKee noticed there were no big songs called "American Girl" in the pop milieu sung by actual American girls. It seemed obvious to her, so she used that title as a starting point.
  • McKee told MTV News about her friendship with some of the stars who appear in the video. "Well Kiss, I've known since I was a teenager," she said. "I had the same manager as Kiss for a long time back in the day. So I used to go backstage and hang out with them and they just always were big supporters of me. They were kind enough to lend their iconic faces to the video, so they're like old-school friends of mine."

    Regarding Tommy Lee's appearance, where we see him drumming and applying makeup, she said, "I know him through kind of the DJ circuit. So [my boyfriend and I] went on a rave cruise. Totally normal, I totally was hanging out with Tommy Lee on a rave boat in the middle of the ocean so no big deal."

    McKee also knows Joan Rivers and her "Fashion Police" crew well. "I've been on Fashion Police several times," she said, "and we have a love/hate relationship. No, they're just always giving me s--t about my fashion but they're really sweet," she said. "They support my wackiness."

    The singer admitted that she was not so familiar with Star Trek actor George Takei. "I've been a big fan for a long time and I just thought he has such an amazing presence online," she said. "He accepted and oh my gosh, you should see his video, just by itself. The audio on his video is hilarious. I think I'm going to post it. It's so great."

    At the end of the video, Katy Perry dubs McKee her competition. "It was funny. It's funny we joke about it all the time 'cause we've known each other since we were teenagers and kind of an ongoing rivalry a little bit," she said. "But we were like frenemies a little bit, but we love each other. She's always supported me. I've always supported her, so it's just a cute little wink and a smile moment."
  • KcKee called this song a "celebration of youth and the freedom of being an American, but also a satirical wink and nod at the frivolousness of the American teenager."

    "I think it's fun to celebrate those things," she added. "Being raised by television and buying a heart out of a vending machine - those are good problems to have."
  • Bonnie McKee grew up with Macklemore when she knew him as just "Ben." She told Ty Bentli on New York station 92.3 NOW: "I was in a hip-hop group with him in Seattle back in the day called Elevated Elements. Then I ended up moving to LA at 16 and he changed his name right after that. So when 'Thrift Shop' blew up and I heard it on the radio I was like, 'this is so good!' Then I looked at the video and I was like, 'no way, that's Ben… that's my high school buddy!'"
  • McKee penned the song with her producer/musician/boyfriend Oliver "Oligee" Goldstein, whose other credits include Leighton Meester's "Somebody to Love" and Ciara's "Overdose." "When I wrote 'American Girl,' I felt like it was the quintessential Bonnie McKee song," McKee explained to MTV News. "It was really bright visuals and colorful pictures and that's kind of what I wanted to do was give my fans a glimpse into my head and what my life was like as a teenager growing up in America. I wanted to give my own American experience."
  • McKee told Billboard magazine how the song captures her entire American childhood in three-and-a-half minutes. "I was a skate betty sitting with the boy I liked in a 7-11 parking lot, trying to get people to buy us beer and cigarettes," she explained. "And I literally feel like I was raised by television. I've learned so many life lessons from sitcoms and music videos."
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