Katy Perry’s Lead Singles Ranked
After a couple of false starts (justice for “Never Really Over”), Katy Perry has officially kicked off her fifth album era with “Daisies.” The soaring mid-tempo moment is the kind of toe-tapper fans have come to expect from the hitmaker, but how does it compare to her other lead singles? Will “Daisies” wilt in a couple of weeks or thrive in the green meadows of pop? Only time will tell. However, in the name of stan drama and website traffic, I had a go at ranking Katy’s lead singles.
If nothing else, the exercise reminded me just how consistent the pop icon has been since breaking through in 2008. While some of the songs hit harder than others, all five lead singles have merit and make sense in the broader context of her career. In the end, it came down to the individual song’s impact on pop culture and its potential to stand the test of time. So without further ado, here’s how I would (currently) rank the mom-to-be’s five, pop-changing lead singles.
5. “Chained To The Rhythm” (2017)
I feel guilty putting this last because “Chained To The Rhythm” is a bop. However, it didn’t really fit on the club-centric Witness and its “meaningful pop” slant made “Bon Appétit” seem like a whacked-out novelty single in comparison. Which is unacceptable because the culinary-themed banger is the best song on the album.
4. “California Gurls” (2010)
“California Gurls” is iconic. It confirmed Katy’s status as an A-lister and conquered the charts around the world. From the mauve wig to the cupcake-shaped bra, the video set the tone for one of the biggest eras of the 2000s. Having said all that, time hasn’t been particularly kind to “California Gurls.” It sounds dated, while songs like “Teenage Dream” and “The One That Got Away” haven’t aged a day.
3. “Daisies” (2020)
It feels outrageous placing “Daisies” above two mega-hits, but the lead single from KP5 deftly balances the fist-pumping, soul-stirring quality of top-shelf Katy with an introspection that suits the state of the world (and the pop star’s journey into motherhood). I also have a feeling it’s a grower. It took a couple of listens to really “click” for me, but now I’m thoroughly addicted.
2. “I Kissed A Girl” (2008)
This problematic bop still goes harder than it has any right to. And if I ranked the songs by how often I play them, “I Kissed A Girl” would come out on top. It’s one thing to land a smash hit, it’s another thing entirely to roll out a superstar-making anthem. And that’s what this is. Sure, some of the lyrics are questionable in 2020 and it would be pilloried if released today, but it’s still a total rush.
1. “Roar” (2013)
Stan Twitter doesn’t want to hear it, but “Roar” is one of the truly great pop songs of the 21st century. This track cuts through demographics like a hot knife through butter. I’ve heard this song played in retirement villages, pre-schools and at major sporting events. It just makes people feel happy and momentarily invincible — and that’s the single biggest compliment you can give a three-minute pop song.