Listening to a new song is always a sonorous blur. They always leave you confused about how you feel once the melody bends into silence. Kind of like opening the front door to a stranger on your porch who you then scan, puzzling if you should be nodding him in or slamming him out. 60% likability settled in my eardrums at the end of the first listen to Katy Perry’s new song ‘Roar’. By the second listen it may have grown to 67-70%. All in all this song will be a hit. Tis an interesting choice to be the lead single of ‘Prism’, Perry’s forthcoming studio album, due for release in late October of this year.
To be honest though, I was expecting a bit more than this. But the ‘this’ that we received is already pretty stellar. Ms. Perry, having trained us to expect nothing less than sparkling fireworks, is not really at fault here. The song is good; it’s just that I wish it provided a deeper pool to hunt for treasures concealed in lyrical depth.
The auto-tuned voice in the chorus deflates the piece’s vocal credibility a bit, relative to the soaring performance we heard in ‘Firework’. Speaking of which, the multiple repetitions of ‘roar’ in the song do remind us very much of ‘Firework’ though. There are numerous parallels this song draws on, parallels that have even had fans and enemies Twit-testing about its similarities to Sara Bareillies’ song ‘Brave’.
Perry’s work is also not lacking in its pink bubble-gum like pop appeal either. Face it, this song is going to be another pop anthem and by the end of the year you are going to be ailing from it through sheer listening fatigue from the radio. I would also agree with other critics, that the song comes out as more of a yelp than a roar. If Perry’s new album ‘Prism’ is meant to come streaming in ushering difference, the lead song I feel doesn’t seem to growl enough to set itself apart from her previous works.
For the all the promotion about difference, the song strings like another bead sliding along the ‘Teenage Dream’ necklace if you ask me.
A few weeks earlier, Perry released promotional videos and teasers for ‘Roar’ where Perry is seen at a funeral for her own self-created blue wigged characters. We thought this was putting an end to that entire bubble-gum pop aura. In another more Gothic video titled ‘Burning Baby Blue’, Perry is seen burning her blue wig of pop songs past, giving us another hint that what is to come is a new Perry, darker and more real. Are we to expect an Adele-like Perry then? If so, ‘Roar’ seems to suffer from bi-polar disorder because we are still left smiling and cheering like we are in a TGIF party. Mixed messages, yes, but a bad thing? No.
Perry has clear strengths in hammering home pop anthems like it’s no one’s business. The catchy tunes, hum-along choruses, and trademark lyric videos are her signature successes. ‘Roar’ doesn’t fall short on hitting any of these marks and this is good. I wonder if Apple paid her something because the song opens like my mornings do— with that ‘Marimba’ iPhone alarm jingle! The lyric video is interesting, colorful and unlike much I’ve seen before. It features Perry herself (I think) so that’s a nice twist. The use of ‘Eye of the Tiger’, and ‘I am a Champion’ in the lyrics are common tropes people can relate to and remember. The lyrics are simple, the message clear, and the song is easy to digest—very much like a motivational pep rally with a charged up jock-like force to it. You’ll be singing to it, reluctantly nodding to it, unknowingly humming to it or secretly memorizing it very soon. Even the bridge and the refrain cross together, high-fiving to the repetitiously infectious chorus.
All in all, Katy Perry’s ‘Roar’ receives a solid 7.6. Like a prism though, we await for its other colors to show. When the album releases and its gleaming sides are exposed to the real public light, we expect an array of shades and refractions. This is only a pink. A color not of the rainbow. Behold then what waits to unfold? Adieu.