Katy Perry has asserted herself as the Everywoman Of Music since the release of her blockbuster Teenage Dream LP three years ago — someone who safely pushes the boundaries with her PG-13 sexuality while churning out hits that tap into our collective senses of youthful abandon (“Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)”), bittersweet nostalgia (“The One That Got Away,” “Teenage Dream”) and alienation (“Firework”). It’s easy to buy into because these are the things that kick us all in the gut at some point in our lives. To borrow from the movie biz, Katy Perry is quite simply a four-quadrant pop star.
And so along comes lead Prism single “Roar,” which is technically due for release on Monday (August 12), but has now sprung a leak. We broke the news on the song’s title two weeks ago, and it’s one that likely led many to believe the Max Martin/Dr. Luke co-production would be somewhat of a high-octane dance jam. Alas, it couldn’t be further from that.
Don’t get me wrong: “Roar” does roar. It just does so on a more subtle, mid-tempo level than expected. The lyrics certainly find Katy puffing her chest proudly and confidently, unafraid of what obstacles life may chuck in her path: “I’ve got the eye of the tiger, a fighter, dancing through the fire / ’cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me roar!” (Brush up on all of the words at DirectLyrics.com.)
Katy Perry — ”Roar”
This is all carried along by a boom-boom-clap beat that aims to mimic Queen‘s own anthem-like “we will, we will rock you” swagger. And then there’s that ear-magnet, synth-driven instrumentation, which helps “Roar” to soar, particularly on the chorus and in the final minute of the song.
Overall, the charm of “Roar” lies more in the radio-ready track’s ability to bring a smile to the face of anyone within earshot and less on the fact that Perry has made any kind of artistic evolution at this stage in her career. That said, the latter is a tricky one to pull off and still maintain commercial viability, so, in the end, Katy is no doubt right in the position she wants to be in.
UPDATE: Following the leak, Perry released “Roar” to radio stations and iTunes at midnight August 11. Hear the official version up top.