Calm down, take a deep breath. Mentioning an artist like Katy Perry for an elec’s song of the now is usually not something people would expect. Many people know her from her puke-inducing girly making-fun-of-life-ish pop songs, “I Kissed a Girl” and — yeah — all the others. The one I mentioned I specifically remember being tortured by for weeks as it topped the charts in summer ‘08 and my little sisters had it on their personal playlists for weeks after that. And I can already hear it go off in my head as I type this. Darnit, stop that!
Anyways, fast forward to today. Or… well, two or three weeks from today. I hear a pretty decent pop ballad on the radio for the first time, and I’m mightily surprised to hear that the track is by Katy Perry. Not only that, it’s also (unlike previously mentioned tracks) written entirely and solely by herself. Here’s where I can say to those of you who’ve only heard her previously-mentioned “hardcore pop” tracks: This is nothing like those.
Well, then, how is it? Well, I think that Katy Perry has hit bullseye with this song: It’s a very fine example of a pop ballad with well thought out lyrics that have the density of sad feelings that the archetype of such a track undeniably requires. The feeling of gloom, frustration and uncomfort is well articulated (“How do I get better / Once I’ve had the best?”), and the song is very deep, in what I think is a stark contrast to some of her other tracks.
Musically, the song is also well done; it’s not like something I haven’t heard before, but the instrumentation is good. Generally, the intensity of the instrumentation starts in the low and accelerates throughout the song, probably as a metaphor of the building frustration. What I especially enjoy, additionally, is the timing of the backup lyrics in the chorus. Delicious!
Fast forward to today. No, really! Well alright, maybe yesterday. I hear it again on the radio, and after noticing how sad it is that songs that are so much deeper get so much less airplay, I decide to buy the song. And I haven’t regretted it since. This track really shows that Katy Perry has some serious song-writing capabilities. This is a song that draws you into the situation and articulates genuine frustrated feelings in a relationship where you just can’t get the one you want. It’s a great ballad. And I’m impressed.