Tuesday, November 9, 2010

"Baby you're a firework/Come on show them what you're worth"

"Firework" is a song by American singer-songwriter Katy Perry from her second mainstream studio album Teenage Dream. It was released as the third single from the album. The song was written by Perry, Stargate, Sandy Vee and Ester Dean, and it was produced by Stargate and Sandy Vee. According to Perry, "Firework" is influenced by Jack Kerouac's novel, On the Road.

Though you've got to give Perry her dues - when I imagine the effect that music has on me, it's usually a fire that starts in my abdomen and explodes out of my chest. It's fantastic that she's created exactly this visual and that - for me - is what lifts Firework into another league altogether.

Katy said that "Firework" is her favorite song on Teenage Dream. She expressed that- "People are coming back and almost adopting it as their own anthem, and it's hard, I think, to write an anthem that's not cheesy, and I hope that this could be something in that category. I hope this could be one of those things where it's like, 'Yeah, I want to put my fist up and feel proud and feel strong. But I also don't want to be cheesy, it's a fine line, and I think 'Firework' ... would be like the opus or my one song — if I had to pick a song to play — 'cause it has a great beat. But it also has a fantastic message."

After hearing the teaser for this single, I had very low expectations for it. But Firework hits all the easy targets - it picks the low self-esteem poster children: fat kids, leukemia victims and kids in abusive homes and tells them to "own the night like the Fourth of July". And the pulsating dance beat that was in the preview didn't even hint at the wonderful build-up in the intro.

I really don't like this trend of 'teasing' pop videos. It works for movies and TV shows, but not for four minute pop tracks. And it totally misleads the listener about what the track is like.

Anyway, I don't know why I ever doubted that Katy would come through. The song ultimately is a winner - uplifting, positive and rather shockingly brilliant. And don't think we didn't notice that it was perfectly timed to come out for firework season! Katy's given us three singles now from her latest album - each one quite different in style from the last, but never once lacking in quality.

The song generally received positive reviews. Slant Magazine stated that the song is "not an actively painful listen. Sure, the would-be inspirational lyrics ("Baby you're a firework/Come on show them what you're worth") are nonsensical, and the vocal lines, which sound like they were written for someone like Leona Lewis, are well beyond Perry's capabilities, but the chorus gains some momentum and the song would work well enough in a club setting that you could forgive its otherwise glaring weaknesses." Nick Levine of Digital Spy gave the song five out of five stars writing, "It's [...] a straight up self-empowerment anthem wrapped in a Coldplay-on-poppers club banger from the Stargate team."

Besides, it’s a straightforward, economical self-esteem anthem. The song wastes no time in getting to the point and gives razor sharp focus to its message. As a result, it is a perfect pop record being catchy, highly melodic and designed to make every listener feel good. Effervescent pop singles rarely get better than this.

Katy Perry has emerged this year as one of the top female artists in pop music around the world. The first two singles from Teenage Dream have both gone to #1, and "Firework" may follow them there. Her unique personality adds to the authenticity of this potent slice of inspiration for anyone who might consider themselves ordinary. Time for you to "shoot across the sky."


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