MTV spoke to the video’s costumer, Carol Beadle, who said she wanted to go “avant-garde”. “I just wanted [Katy] to look really odd, unreal if we could, but still fashionable,” she said. “I was looking at jellyfishes and amoebas; those words were constantly used and we wanted it to look like a flash of an amoeba and then it coming to life,” Beadle explained about Katy’s dresses in the clip. (Credit stylist Johnny Wujek for Katy’s overall look).
The director, Floria Sigismondi, was so focused on the details of the clip, you may not even catch all her flourishes, like the decision to open the clip with bits of songs from the past being intercepted in space. According to a knowledgeable source involved with her video production team, the song, “Where In The World (Is My Lover)” comes from the age of jazz, and was recorded by by Midge Williams & Her Jazz Jesters. Williams was a lesser known African American swing jazz vocalist from the 30s and 40s — and, incidentally, a California gurl — and her song had the perfect message (“Where in the world can my lover be / Where in the world is there someone for me?”) for Katy’s intergalactic love story.
Pretty neat, huh? Even more interesting is the fact that the track’s beat was originally supposed to go to Three 6 Mafia! Katy tells the story to MTV:
“I remember writing with Max Martin and Dr. Luke, and there’s this producer they wrote with, named Ammo as well, and they were just showing me different samples of songs or tracks or beats, and they accidentally pulled up this beat, and it was for Three 6 Mafia… I heard it and I always knew I wanted to write this futuristic, alienistic song, and they pulled it up and I was like, ‘Wait, I can wrap my head around this. I know this seems like a long shot, but I think I have the perfect material to put on top of this sound.’ And I did, and it really worked out perfectly.”
We think Three 6 Mafia will get over not having the beat to “E.T.” in one of their tracks. They have an Oscar, they’ll be okay.