Music

Katy Perry 2.0 Has Outgrown Her Teenage Dream

The pop star is a long way from the beach on her new song “Dark Horse,” which features Juicy J, making it trap-tastic, trippy pop perfection.

1. Remember when Katy Perry’s Prism teaser videos declared death to her candy-coated persona?

2. She set fire to her Teenage Dream-era blue wig…

3. …and buried her whimsical lollipop/pinwheel-covered “California Gurls” outfit.

4. She promised us a darker, edgier Katy.

5.Roar” was… not quite that.

6. But “Dark Horse,” her brand-new track with Juicy J, lives up to the promise after all.

The song, which premiered on iTunes early this morning, is a banger, with all the stark, cold thumping of trap music, but the soaring buildup of the kind of anthemic pop songs she’s known for. The really wonderful surprise here, though, is that instead of erupting into a huge cheesy chorus, the buildup leads to a satisfying drop-off in both tempo and vocals to give way to chopped and screwed riffs, finger snaps, and the emptiness of the pulsating bass.

It’s fun to see Katy playing with slinkier, less straightforward vocal phrasing; her turn on the lyrics “Make me your Aphrodite / Make me your one and only / But don’t / make me your enemy” are even (dare I say it) body roll-worthy.

It probably helps that Juicy J is on there too. The Three 6 Mafia rapper has been flirting with and championing pop music a lot lately, even appearing alongside Miley Cyrus on Mike WiLL Made It’s song “23.” Maybe he’s positioning himself as the go-to rapper for pop stars looking to gain some cred in the hip-hop world? Hey, if these are results, I’m all for it.

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