Two things: first, when I hurl "shampoo" as a perfume epithet, it's because the scent has let me down by smelling like a garden-variety toiletry rather than a perfume. "Gee, Your Hair Smells Terrific" was the last time I thought "Gee, I Wish This Were a Perfume" about a shampoo, and we're talking the tender tween years, here. (Okay, I lie: I think MoroccanOil Shampoo could be a perfume, too.)
But to take your larger point, not only can I admit that "Sugar Sugar" is a great song, I fully subscribe to your man Scott Miller's "Your ears are always right, the embarrassment is always wrong."
I'm exasperated by the self-conscious groovebags who strike affected poses: wearing, eating, doing things "ironically." Guess what, Trucker Hat Dude, you're go-cart racing, listening to Kiss and eating fondue not because you're achingly arch, but because those things are fun. And if Trucker Hat Dude can't admit something is fun, then that's just sad.
Miller's "originality isn't the be-all end-all" idea is borne out by the success of all the Chuck Berry/David Bowie/Madonna reincarnations out there. The fact that the son-of-son-ofs may be dupes of the mother dough doesn't diminish the pleasure of a great pop song. Or a great perfume, as obvious as its olfactory quotes may be. To paraphrase Miller, the nose is always right. For example, it took the appearance of Chanel No. 5 Eau Première for me to "get" Chanel No. 5. But Eau Première is still the version I want to wear. And Guerlain Mitsouko is too rich and uncompromising for me -- it's heartburn in my nose. But Attrape Coeur reworks some of Mitzy's ambered-peach act and makes Guerlain's history accessible for me. It's funny you should write to me about this, because coincidentally, I was just reading a thread on Basenotes where someone was complaining about Keiko Mecheri's perfumes. The person felt that many of her perfumes were simply variations on Serge Lutens' line. Even though they found her versions more accessible, the comment was: "I prefer the original for the respect of the creativity of an artist, even if it's a nicely done copy." I respect the creativity of an artist too, but sometimes I'm happier listening to Gary Numan than David Bowie, or the The Killers instead of The Cure. To stubbornly wear a perfume only because it's the prototype of a genre -- and not because you feel exalted in its cloud -- is just goofy. Sure, it's fun to experiment with aspirational fragrances as you explore what complements and clashes with your mojo, but since the sense of smell is a hotline to emotion, why not let emotion choose your perfume, and tell that that snobby brain to pipe down? Katie