[REVIEW] Katy Perry x ‘Dark Horse’ + ‘Walking On Air’ (Snippets)

After teaming with Pepsi to preview two songs off her upcoming third album, its clear the Queen of Pop’s ‘Prism’ era of domination has only just begun. Pepsi was given exclusive rights to two of Perry’s album cuts “Dark Horse” and “Walking On Air”. While both songs are on complete opposite sides of the musical spectrum, they really showcase the growth and maturity that’s been placed into ‘Prism’. The Pepsi contest began with Twitter users tweeting the hashtag #katynow to unlock lyrics from the two songs, and proved to be an extremely easy feat since Katy is the most followed female musician on the social network site.

So you wanna play with magic
Boy, you should know whatcha falling for
Baby, do you dare to do this?
Cause I’m coming atcha like a dark horse…
Are you ready for, ready for
A perfect storm, perfect storm
Cause once you’re mine, once you’re mine
There’s no going back

“Dark Horse” is Katy’s first official urban/hip-hop single (the Kanye-assisted “E.T” unintentionally topped urban radio in early 2012) and it’s quite the departure from ‘Teenage Dream’. The lyrics are slighty witchy as Katy warns her potential lover of the dangers of playing with her heart. Acclaimed hitmakers Dr. Luke and Max Martin helmed “Horse” and the number also boasts a verse from Juicy J, the first hip-hop artist signed to Luke’s newly created Kemosabe Records. While only the bridge and chorus of “Horse” have been released, the snippet ends with a chopped-and-screwed segment reminscent of both Juicy J’s Three 6 Mafia days as well as Beyonce’s “I Been On”. Even though it sounds like an easy urban radio sell, “Horse” doesn’t spark the mass appeal as her first ‘Prism’ single “Roar”.

Just when I think I can’t take anymore
We go deeper and harder
Than ever before
We go higher and higher
I feel like I’m already there…
I’m walking on air tonight
I’m walking on air
I’m walking, I’m walking on air tonight

“Walking On Air” is on the opposite side of Perry’s predicted musical path, as she experiments with deep house. “Air” takes Katy’s vocals to new territory, giving ad-libs and high notes throughout the (too) short snippet. Recorded during her #stockholmsessions with Robyn-producer Klas Ahlund, “Air” has the potential to become more anthemic than “Roar”. The arrangement appeals to the LGBT crowd with its rave-esque backdrops and techno beats, but the songwriting is fresh and uplifting. However, “Air” also has a limited mass market appeal. Not everyone listens to (or even knows) the true definition of deep house, but Katy provides an easy-to-understand mainstream interpretation for anyone who may have doubted her.

After a week-long fan vote, “Dark Horse” was voted as Perry’s next “early release”. The Queen, however, quickly clarified that “Horse” wouldn’t be the second single, but rather an early gift to her massive #katycat fanbase. Although I appreciate the uniqueness of both songs, I would’ve appreciated a full-length “Air” rather than the tried-and-true, urban-formatted “Horse”. From the snippets, it’s clear that “Horse” will feature a bass-heavy, thumping beat switch, but there’s not much to guess from when it comes to Katy’s vocal acrobatics on the “Air” chorus alone. Either way, any press regarding the Queen of Pop has me more excited for ‘Prism’, which will be in stores October 22.

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