[artist id=”3274550″]Katy Perry[/artist] certainly isn’t the first artist to get all Lewis Carroll-ian with a video — Tom Petty’s iconic “Don’t Come Around Here No More” certainly springs to mind — though, in some ways, her brand-new “Wide Awake” clip (which borrows from Carroll’s “Through the Looking Glass” book) does manage to cover new territory — namely by transforming the fantasy trope into a bit of an autobiography.
It makes sense. After all, it’s not exactly a stretch to call the past two years of her life — which began with the release of her Teenage Dream album in summer 2010 and concludes with her upcoming “Part of Me” 3-D film — surreal. She’s one of the biggest pop stars on the planet, gone through a very public divorce, and become the rather unwilling target of the tabloids — and in some way, you get the feeling she’d like nothing more than to return to simpler times (singles sales intact, obvs). And all those things show up, in one form or another, in “Wide Awake,” which begins at the very end of her “California Gurls” music video shoot and takes her literally through the looking glass to a world that is basically as fantastical as her actual existence.
She is trapped inside a labyrinth. She discovers her lost innocence in the form of a young girl. She is hounded by hellish paparazzi. She finds her Prince Charming, who tellingly crosses his fingers behind his back before going in for a kiss. And even more tellingly, Perry reaches back and decks him. In short, you don’t exactly need an advanced degree in film theory to realize that the video is one long symbolic ride through her voyage to superstardom (except for the two hospital attendants/minotaurs; I’m not sure what they represent). The squeeze of fame, the rose-colored nostalgia, the invasions of privacy and the betrayals of trust: It’s all here and all ready for the armchair analysts.
Of course, Perry has made it very clear that this new video is the final chapter of the fairy tale that was her Teenage Dream years. That she doesn’t seem to be entirely happy with all of it is about as telling as her socking Prince Charming — after all, no one ever said fame was easy, or the ride to the top wouldn’t be a bumpy one. And, at their very core, most fairy tales are actually pretty terrifying things. But with “Wide Awake,” Perry lets it be known that she’s made it through unscathed and on top of the world. And if that’s not a happy ending, well, then I don’t know what is.
What did you think of Katy’s latest video? Let us know in the comments!