It's that auspicious moment in late spring where everyone starts dropping their song-of-the-summer contenders. Katy Perry's new single "Never Really Over" is here, and probably her strongest in years.
The euphoric breakup anthem recalls an older, blessed moment of Katy. The rousing, explosively catchy chorus is right out of the pop textbook she and Bonnie McKee wrote with "Teenage Dream" and "California Gurls." But it somehow doesn't sound dated, freshened up with a strong dose of HAIM, audible in the choppy, funky synths and self-harmonization, as well as the glittery shimmer of Carly Rae Jepsen.
Despite being seemingly happily wedded to Orlando Bloom, "Never Really Over" finds Katy trying to get over an on-and-off heartbreak at a hippie retreat, with all kinds of holistic healing methods. Katy ties acupuncture, reiki, praying around a campfire, harvesting her tears, and some sort of Michael Phelps-approved cupping practice. When none of that works, she tries good old frolicking in the woods, with some fun, color-blocked group choreography that belongs in the lineage that goes from Feist's "1, 2, 3, 4" all the way up to Taylor Swift's "ME!"
"Never Really Over" is the pop giant's first proper single in two years, following a tropical but sinister collab with her go-to producer Zedd (also the producer on this track) "365" and a feature on Daddy Yankee's "Con Calma." I, for one, couldn't be more thrilled that Katy is done with her "dark" phase, and getting back to her roots: the big, bright and shiny irresistible radio-pop, that gets people moving at the club, high school gyms and presidential campaign rallies alike.