On Thursday, "Teenage Dream," the title track — and second single — off her much-anticipated new album premiered on radio (and online), and it's about as far a cry from her sexed-up summertime smash "California Gurls" as you can get. But Perry never had any doubts about releasing it as single number two ... because the song holds a rather special place in her heart.
"I wrote that song in Santa Barbara and it was a very pure moment for me, because that's where I'm from," she told MTV News. "And it was, like, where I started my creative juices. And also it kind of exudes this euphoric feeling because everybody remembers what their teenage dreams were — all the girls that were on your poster walls.
"And I want to continue to be one of those ... teenage wet dreams," she continued.
She's probably well on her way to achieving that goal (have you seen the cover of the album?!?), but there's no debating that "Teenage Dream" is a definite change of pace for Perry. While it's still as saccharine sweet as her previous hits, there's also a rather, well, mature quality to it (despite the title). It's a song very much about being in love, about surrendering yourself to one person, about commitment and security and the serenity that comes from those things. "I Kissed a Girl" it ain't.
But as Perry put it, that's sort of the point. After all, her Teenage Dream album is about her growth as an artist, about showing sides of her we never knew existed. Sure, it's still very much a pop album, but it's a multifaceted one, born not out of focus groups and boardrooms, but out of heart and soul and, well, Perry's gut, too.
"In the very beginning [of this album], I was telling the record executives, 'Listen, don't tell me when it's over, don't tell me when to turn it in, don't tell me when we're out of money. I'll let you know when my gut says 'Go.' Because I've always followed my intuition, and that's worked for me," she said. "I'm not going to overthink that, because it's always worked for me."
Perry's Teenage Dream album drops August 24.
What do you think of Katy Perry's new single, "Teenage Dream"? Tell us in the comments.