FFWDing to the Worst Part: “Firework,” Katy Perry (2010)

So, it’s Sunday night, and many of us probably have the blues. Let’s wallow in it, shall we, with a divergent take on the worst part of a song.

Typically when I take note of the “best” part, it is based on something musical.  A  key change, an impressive glory-note run, an affecting chord progression.  Today, it’s a lyric I want to briefly dissect.

I find myself liking Katy Perry more than I want to or should.  She seems like a relatively together lady, she sang with Elmo, and I appreciate her ability to make fun of herself.  Plus — she cast Hanson in her Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.) video, which almost made listening to the song tolerable.

But “Firework.”  My God, “Firework.” This song has many problems — it feels like she’s painfully stretching her range in the chorus, for one, and Max Martin (Swedish wunderkind of pop music that will be frequently mentioned here) was not involved in the writing of this one.  (He did have a hand in the following: “I Kissed a Girl,” “Hot n Cold,” “California Gurls,” “Teenage Dream,” “Roar,” and  “Wide Awake.”)


Worst part? 1:44.  “After a hurricane, comes a rainbow.”  Okay, I realize this song is about self-empowerment, and trusting in the universe’s plan, and not giving up, and “It Gets Better,” etc. etc.  But this metaphor?  Meteorologically unsound, for one.  And even if it wasn’t, I’m not sure this aphorism would be too comforting to, say, the huddled masses in the Superdome in 2005, or the Jersey Shore restaurant operators that saw their businesses washed out to sea. It’s simplistic, trite, and wholly irritating.  I don’t expect much from you, Katy, but you’re better than that.


3 thoughts on “FFWDing to the Worst Part: “Firework,” Katy Perry (2010)

  1. Definitely meteorologically unsound. After the hurricane comes (at least in NOLA) blistering oppressive heat and stillness.

    Also, not so much with the Sunday night blues with the Saints win last night.

  2. I am thoroughly inured to bad lyrics in pop songs. The listening public evidently is too, or George Michael’s “Father Figure” and Ja Rule’s “Always On Time” never would have made it to Top Forty, let alone #1. Or like how K-Ci and JoJo tell their woman that she is “close to me, like my mother/father/sister/brother.” That’s what a woman wants to hear!

    My main complaint with “Firework” is that its prechorus apparently got away with ripping off the prechorus of Erasure’s “Always,” as heard at 0:27 in this dance remix version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8klDSnNRG40.

    • And ‘Roar’ rips off Sara Bareilles’ “Brave” in SHAMELESS fashion. I’m sure that’s in no way Max’s fault, though.

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