Lost Hit: Katy Perry’s “Walking On Air” Should Have Been A Single
In this franchise, we highlight album tracks that should have been released as singles.
It feels strange to say this about a chart-topping, multi-platinum album, but I wholly believe that Katy Perry’s Prism is one of the most-underrated pop offerings of the 2010s. The superstar’s third LP had timeless hits, bouncy bangers and beautiful ballads. Even the corniest song (“International Smile”) ranks as a guilty pleasure. It’s hard to single out a particular tune that deserved to shine brighter because there are so many candidates. “Ghost,” “Love Me” and “This Moment” are all in the running, but ultimately “Walking On Air” has a little more sparkle.
Released as the album’s second promotional single, “Walking On Air” is a glorious tribute to deep house. “Just when I think I can’t take anymore, we go deeper and hotter than ever before,” Katy purrs over production from the dream team of Max Martin and Klas Åhlund. “We go higher and higher, I feel like I’m already there.” The banger continues to soar on the euphoric chorus. “I’m walking on air,” she belts over a sun shower of synths. “Tonight, I’m walking on air.” All in all, this wouldn’t sound out of place on a CeCe Peniston or Crystal Waters album from 1994.
While the fan response to “Walking On Air” was overwhelmingly positive, a strange thing started happening. “Dark Horse,” the first promotional single from Prism, started climbing iTunes and was promptly made an official single. It would go on to become one of the best-selling songs of the decade, so it’s hard to argue with that decision. Capitol Records ultimately went with “Birthday” as the album’s fourth single single (in many ways it is the bridge between Teenage Dream and Prism), which — in retrospect — might have been a little safe.
Not that “Walking On Air” was completely forgotten. It played an integral part in the Prismatic World Tour and laid the groundwork for another excursion into ’90s clubland on 2017’s underrated Witness. Revisit the brilliant bop below.