- Nomination: Best Pop Solo Performance, "Wide Awake"
So, I'm really doing this again? I reviewed the original version of this and remember really liking a lot of it. Granted, some songs were also very painful to get through. And now she's re-released, and of course the ONE song that got a Grammy nod is on the re-release. And because I'm neurotic, I have to review the whole thing to make it count on my list. It's okay, most of this will be fun. I haven't gotten a good pop album in a while.
Oh, and if you're wondering, I'm assuming the re-release was because of the huge breakup from Russel Brandt. I mean, "Wide Awake" is completely about her liberation from the situation. So in a sense, this time, we get the full story. Heh, get it? The title implies that.
We start off with one of my favorite songs of the year "Teenage Dream." Seriously, I just don't get sick of this. It's fun and poppy and completely about being in love. I'm just young enough to still re-live my sweet teenage days in my mind (while ignoring the not-so-sweet) and still wish for some of them and absolutely that feeling again now. Also, Darren Criss has since done a slow version of this that makes me melt even more than the original version he did. And lord knows it's all about Darren.
| || |
"Last First Night (T.G.I.F.)" comes up next, and yeah, by now I'm already remembering why I adore this album. Apparently I forgot - though looking ahead to the next track I remember the detest. Anywhos, talk about one of the best videos in recent memory, and speaking of Darren Criss, if you've somehow been living under a rock, watch the video to the side here. Hanson's in it, for God's sake. How does it get better. Also, when you're a 20-something girl, this is positively one of the best Friday-night-party-songs you can find.
GAHHHHH Now I remember why I didn't entirely enjoy this. "California Gurls" is possibly one of the most annoyingly catchy songs that has come out in the past ten years. I say all of this as a through-and-through JERSEY GIRL - so give me a break. I want to like it, but have absolutely no reason to unless I'm on the west coast and, well, I rarely ever am. And not sure what happened to the original video they released on YouTube, but maybe it was just too inappropriate for the site and isn't there anymore. This is the Live version from letterman.
| || |
Now "Firework" is another incredible song. I didn't really expect to get something inspirational from Katy, but this song took me completely by surprise. It's a concept I don't think anyone else has considered, but positively wonderful. The video's a little on the weird side, but I can get over that. The message is inspiring. I even heard a principal quote it for a graduation speech. The backing dance beat helps to give the fun element too.
"Peacock" is one that never has and probably never will make sense to me. Katy reminds us here that she's a bit on the scandalous side with a song that's got quite obvious innuendos. I don't find anything I like in this though. I'm even making an effort to be in to the beat a bit and have fun, and it's just not entertaining at all, or even catchy. A low point in the album I think.
| || |
So the title "The One That Got Away" has pretty damn obvious meaning. She talks about not planning for something like this, but who ever can? Who ever wants this situation anyway? But yeah, it exists. But anyone in it has had the "what if" fantasy in the chorus. Clearly I've been through it, as most girls have. At least she puts it to a great beat to move to and avoid the crippling sadness it could otherwise totally consist of.
In an little more of an intense number, "Who Am I Living For?" comes at us. She's still stuck in interstellar mode with the sound here, but at least it's not out of nowhere after the last number. It does take us closer to earth theme-wise though. This is a more insightful, tough number on a personal level for the girl. I think this was on the first iteration of the album, but whether it was or not, I hope Katy was able to take this even more to heart after everything.
"Pearl" was always one that I liked. It's a hard realization to come to when you see that you're not the person you once were or were meant to be. It's especially scary to realize it's because of someone else. Seriously, if you're reading this: please don't let anyone else put out your light. You're better than that and worth so much more.
With a line like "You make me feel like I'm loosing my virginity" right out the gate for "Hummingbird Heartbeat," I wasn't entirely sure this one would be something I could get in to. But as the song goes on, it just turns in to a lot of fun about being in love and silly. It grows on you for sure, just enough to get up and dance around to. Just be careful not to do that in your local Starbucks like I almost just caught myself doing here…
"Not Like The Movies" hit me at the wrong/absolutely right time. The simple version is that my dream movie guy brushed me off. We all want the fairytales, but sadly you get the heartbreak instead. She's cute and keeps hope alive. Anywhos, I appreciate everything about this song: musically, it's on the simpler, heartfelt side, and lyrically she spins some beautiful metaphors around each other to remind you of what you dreamed of for so long.
Luckily for me, these songs were broken up by a Yeah Yeah Yeahs commercial - thank you Spotify. I may have started crying in the middle of the coffee shop if "The One That Got Away - Acoustic" had come on immediately next. It's devastating emotionally when a fun pop singer takes on a seriously sad ballad. And then she takes it to the acoustic realm? Well my tear ducts are screwed.
"Part of Me" had me loving Katy all over again. I mean, "Wide Awake" is a great song, but this one was the power song after the tears were dried. She took control of herself and her career and jumped back into our lives as the strong woman we always wanted her to be. And how empowering is that feeling of awareness in yourself? Every girl needs this one after a breakup or bad fight or attack on her character. Stand strong on your own two feet and be better than he could ever make you or allow you to be, and dance to the awesome beat while you're at it.
| || |
Now, "Wide Awake" came out INCREDIBLY fast after the breakup was announced. I almost feel like she had this one in her back pocket and just happened to find the right time to throw it out into the world. Obviously, everyone had her back on it and adored the new piece. The dream was over and reality had set in, you know, like it does. You hit the concrete and have to figure out the next thing - but that's not bad at all.
"Dressin' Up" is a little trip back to Katy's raunchy side. I mean, guys, we can't forget that Katy Perry knows how to give us a sexy party song like no one else. This one's not a favorite, personally, but if it came on I wouldn't necessarily stay off the dance floor. Speaking of which, friends, we need a dress up and go out and be insane kind of evening.
| || |
And now we'll take on the new versions of the old songs. First up is "E.T. - feat. Kanye West." Now, remember, the video that came out (on the side here) actually used this version, so technically this is the actual single. But I don't know, I like it without the rap included. He's got a way of making it feel just a little over-dirty. At least before there were innuendos, whereas now he makes it full-on all about the sex. Eh.
We end things in a way only Katy can do well - with a smash up! This final song is "Tommy Sunshine's Megasix Smash-Up." Eh, it's a re-lease and a pop album. I don't blame her for going this route. Mega-mixes need to be used more often anyway. At least this one creates a good party vibe to end a very up-and-down album.
And yes, that's Hanson in the background of this paused moment.
- "Teenage Dream"
- "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)"
- "Circle the Drain"
- "The One That Got Away"
- "Hummingbird Heartbeat"
- "Not Like The Movies"
- "The One That Got Away - Acoustic"
- "Part of Me"
- "Wide Awake"
Wow, I can't believe a 19-track album is over already! It's been a lot of fun, and always is when you actually know the track ahead of time. There's also that emotional roller coaster that Katy Perry decided to take us on, starting so high, dipping so low, and coming out evenly to familiar ground. Overall, I really enjoyed the ride, like I may not have expected, once again reminding me of my love for this lady's unique and fun work.