Single Review: Katy Perry – ‘Teenage Dream’

Okay, so we know times change, right? We know that petrol prices are fluctuating more than Louis Spence’s body; we know that teenage pregnancy in Britain is unprecedented; and we’know the people can things that 10/15 years ago would have been forbidden.

But how long has it been since Katy Perry had this “teenage dream” she speaks of in her new single of the same name? Because to me, this teenage dream of hers seems a bit made up. Okay, really made up.

I’m a teenager, so I regularly have “teenage dreams” a LOT… Mostly through the day, and if I didn’t know any better, I’d say Katy was a bit delusional because no teenage dream is THIS perfect. Teenage dreams are all about craziness and bending the fabrics of reality, or imagining you’re something amazing and idolised. Let me show you an example of my teenage dream:

I’m in my kitchen, sat to the table. There’s a bowl of cornflakes that have soaked up too much milk next to me and there’s a giant cod sat opposite me. Mr. Cod offers me a small velociraptor in his fin, for no reason at all. I say “No thanks, I have one”, and walk over to the toaster to make some doughnuts.

Coming back with a bowl of strawberry ice cream (You can tell I have a sweet tooth) the cod asks if I’d like to go bowling. I agree. We get in the car, which has two wheels so it’s actually a tank/bike thingy; Mr. Cod drives because I’ve suddenly lost my arms. We get to a bowling alley and go inside and order a soufflé. Then we go back outside and we throw the soufflé at Willem Dafoe (I KNOW RIGHT?), then the police chase us on ice skates past an air-craft carrier and up a steep hill on the back of a lorry.

A tiger is at the top, dancing to Robyn’s ‘Dancing On My Own’, he sees us and pushes a red alarm button on a tree. Mr. Cod and I look up to see a giant 200 ft elephant with spider’s legs walking overhead. Then the skies crack open to a chorus of singing caricature theatre masks (y’know, the sad face and happy face?) then a man with an umbrella starts hopping across the clouds singing ‘Jolly Holiday’ in Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s voice.

This is where it gets quite weird because it all happens at once: The elephant trips over a stray dog on a skateboard who is also being chased by the ice-skating police. The elephant, now with a peach for a head, falls over but in slow motion, allowing one of it’s legs to knock a chocolate minstrel out of the sky, the tiger to steal my ice-cream (I still have it?), and for Mr. Cod to jump into the ground like it was water. Of course, the singing chorus of mime masks has disappeared. As I look round for the last second before the Big Bang, an hourglass smashes, the Tardis explodes, and Mr. Fawlty continuously hits Manuel over the head with a fluffy soup spoon. And as the elephant hits the ground, it disappears underground, replaced by a huge cartoon daisy, and then the whole world appears to ripple and displace itself like a ruffled carpet.

Then I wake up. SEE!? There’s no fancy reminiscing or dreamy loving! GUH!

How did you do on the trip into my mind? Hmm? My point is, whilst Katy’s mind is clearly not as mad as mine, it’s never going to disappoint on terms of excitement and memorability. ‘Teenage Dream’ is a beautifully subtle affair at first, with Katy singing in dainty falsetto against a restrained, strumming guitar before erupting into a hook-ridden, feel-good chorus about a man making her feel like a teenager again. All giddy like.

“We can dance until we die/You and I, we’ll be young forever”, she sings romantically before the chorus which is alive with boisterous electric guitars and a pounding beat. But the best part is the “I’ma get your heart racing/In my skin tight jeans/Be your teenage dream tonight”, which is easily the best part, spiralling downward in pitch, Katy sounds more serious and non-gimmicky than ever before yet manages to retain a flamboyant spark and a universally appealing quality to her voice, the music, and the lyrics.

The video is quite a surprise, in the way that ‘Fire With Fire’ was surprising for the Scissor Sisters – I’m just waiting for the animated Gummy Bear, the oasis as fish-net clad girls kissing each other and eating cake, or even an inflatable sausage balloon? No, nothing. Not even a small zebra.

Clearly this is the track that cements Katy as a far more versatile, credible artist than she has previously been regarded, as there are no gimmicks, no controversial attention seeking, no comic factor; just a relaxed, tone-down, true-to-life video that works perfectly with the song, highlighting the appeal greatly.

It’s a huge summer anthem, combining sweet lyrics with a euphoric pop chorus and a feel-good factor, and it sees Katy return to her pop-rock roots; doing something very much her own, instead of piggy-backing on someone else’s niche like she did with the dubiously laborious ‘California Gurls’.

Rating: 4.5 STARS

Download: August 30, 2010

Featured Album: ‘Teenage Dream’

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