After the massive success of her pre-album campaign with Pepsi and MTV, the second promo single “Walking On Air” has been released to critical acclaim. But sadly and like my previous post on “Dark Horse”, the live performances leave more to be desired. “Air” is a deep-house dancefloor staple that sits high and mighty amongst other gay anthems. The beat, produced as a part of her #stockholmsessions with Klas Ahlund, sounds very different from any of Katy’s previous songs to date and eschews notions of a (happy) anthem that’s bound to burn up clubs nationwide. “Air” also features a gospel choir that assists her with dramatic vocal duties on the song’s bridge and pre-chorus. Almost every review of “Air” has Katy’s now-infamous quote comparing the song to a mixture of “CeCe Peniston and Crystal Waters wrapped up into a 2013 groove”, but I view her latest promo single as so much more. While everyone associates “Air” with sounding like a bite off of Peniston or Waters, it’s more like a tribute to an even lesser known genre – Chicago house. But either way that it’s viewed, it’s a rare uptempo gem on the somewhat moody ‘Prism’ release that’s sure to grasp the Queen of Pop many new fans along the way. Listen to the studio version of Katy’s “Walking On Air” below.
Live performance review:
Similar to Katy’s “Dark Horse” live performances, the “Walking On Air” live vocals aren’t the best. But I will say that they’re most improved when you compare the two promo singles. For the “Walking On Air” routine, there’s a nod to the 80s with knee-slides and the #butterfly. The oddest thing about the performances is how Katy seeks to visualize “air” – by using a bed sheet. For the bad performance on Saturday Night Live, Katy uses a plain white sheet and a #beyoncefan to add emphasis to the “I’m walking on air, I’m walking, I’m walking on air” bridge. Here, the effect slightly cheapens Katy’s strongest singing on the song, and is actually quite laughable along with the Britney-schoolgirl outfit. As a better affair, the Good Morning America performance is on the opposite end of the spectrum, as Katy pulls off the upper register notes with the greatest of ease. She’s also dancing, using a #roarinspired sheet, and looks much sexier here as a cheerleader than as a schoolgirl – but maybe it’s because it was her birthday. While I love Katy very much, I don’t want to see the sheet on her upcoming ‘Prism’ tour. Watch the not-so-great performance (on Saturday Night Live) here and the better performance on Good Morning America below.