Should Have Been Bigger: Katy Perry’s “Birthday”
In this franchise, we look back on songs that deserved a little more love and attention.
With the release of Witness a matter of days away, now is as good a time as any to reflect on one of the underrated gems from Katy Perry’s last album. “Birthday” was released as the fourth single from Prism in mid-2014 and dutifully cracked the top 20 (it peaked at number 17) and sold platinum. That would be considered a career highlight for most artists, but it ranked as the pop star’s second-lowest charting single at the time. (Only 2009 ballad “Thinking Of You” charted lower). It was a surprise given the dream team that created it — Max Martin, Dr Luke & Bonnie McKee — and the fact that it was a stone-cold bop.
From memory, “Birthday” got lost in the wash of the all-conquering “Dark Horse.” The bubbly anthem might also have been too much of a throwback to the Teenage Dream era with its perky pop production. But that doesn’t change the fact that it added a pleasant burst of irreverence to an era that was heavy on introspection and experimentation. The song also brought disco back to the airwaves and instantly raised serotonin levels wherever it was played. Make no mistake. This should have done for birthdays what Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas” did for the festive season. Revisit Katy’s slept-on single below.