Katy Perry. Four years ago she was a budding starlet, a pretty face, and known mostly for her breakout hit, the delightfully naughty guilty pleasure “I Kissed A Girl.” Now she’s a pop goddess of near galactic fame, an international sex icon, and, with the cinematic nature of her music videos, even an actress.
Raving aside, Ms. Perry re-released her platinum-selling sophomore album Teenage Dream this past Tuesday, under the new title: Teenage Dream – The Complete Confection. The album contains all of the original Teenage Dream tracks, along with two remixes, an acoustic version of “The One That Got Away”, a Tommie Sunshine produced mega-mashup, and three brand new tracks. One of them, “Part Of Me”, is already lounging comfortably at the top tiers of America’s charts and airwaves. The other two tracks, “Wide Awake” and “Dressin’ Up”, are building momentum as potential hits as well. “Dressin’ Up” is a sultry, carnal dance-rock track, and is pretty typical in the scope of Katy Perry’s sound. “Wide Awake”, however, is a bit of a musical leap for the songstress, breaking away from the brawny pop rock and fist-pumping house that she often utilizes in her singles and hits.
One of the most note-worthy aspects of “Wide Awake” is its production. In this mid-tempo break-up song, we find Katy Perry floating on clouds of trance, with waves of ambient synthesizers swirling around soft acoustic guitars and simple drum beats. The strong, but simple instrumentation gives Perry’s vocals sturdy support, while allowing her pain-stricken voice and standout lyrics to reign dominant. The songwriting style is similar to “Part Of Me” and “The One That Got Away”, but while both songs struggled to balance serious lyrics with campy beats and melodies, everything about “Wide Awake” fits. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what the song could be (and probably is) about, and it’s refreshing to see Ms. Perry craft such a sugary sweet, emotionally charged pop song. If this is the direction Perry is taking with her third album, then it’s guaranteed to be another single-laden, chart dominating release.