Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Katy Perry released Teenage Dream

Originally posted Apil 22, 2011. Last updated March 7, 2019.

Teenage Dream

Katy Perry

Released: August 24, 2010

Peak: #11 US, #11 UK, #11 CN, #12 AU

Sales (in millions): 3.0 US, 1.3 UK, 12.5 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: pop

Tracks: (Click for codes to singles charts.)

  1. Teenage Dream (7/23/10, 12 US, 8 AC, 14 A40, 2 UK, 2 CN, 2 AU, worldwide sales: 8.66 million)
  2. Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.) (9/11/10, 12 US, 17 AC, 13 A40, 9 UK, 11 CN, 5 AU, worldwide sales: 7.2 million)
  3. California Gurls (with Snoop Dogg, 5/11/10, 16 US, 7 AC, 19 A40, 1 UK, 19 CN, 14 AU, worldwide sales: 9.24 million)
  4. Firework (10/17/10, 14 US, 11 AC, 15 A40, 3 UK, 11 CN, 3 AU, worldwide sales: 13.33 million)
  5. Peacock (9/11/10, 105 US, 56 CN, US sales: 1 million)
  6. Circle the Drain (8/28/10, 58 US, 30 CN)
  7. The One That Got Away (10/9/11, 3 US, 5 AC, 11 A40, 18 UK, 2 CN, 27 AU, worldwide sales: 3.63 million)
  8. E.T. (Futuristic Lover) (9/4/10, 42 US, 18 AC)
  9. Who Am I Living For?
  10. Pearl
  11. Hummingbird Heartbeat
  12. Not Like the Movies (8/21/10, 53 US, 41 CN)

Tracks from the deluxe edition (8/27/2010):

  1. If We Ever Meet Again (with Timbaland, 12/19/09, 37 US, 3 UK, 4 CN, 9 AU, worldwide sales: 0.5 million)
  2. Starstrukk (with 3oh!3, 7/9/09, 66 US, 3 UK, 31 CN, 4 AU, worldwide sales: 1.74 million)
  3. California Girls (Passion Pit Main Mix
  4. California Gurls (Armand Van Helden Remix)
  5. Teenage Dream (Kaskade Club Remix)

Tracks from The Complete Confection (released 3/23/12):

  1. The One That Got Away (acoustic)
  2. Part of Me (2/13/12, 11 US, 18 AC, 4 A40, 11 UK, 11 CN, 5 AU, worldwide sales: 4.24 million) *
  3. Wide Awake (5/22/12, 2 US, 2 AC, 13 A40, 9 UK, 13 CN, 4 AU, worldwide sales: 4.99 million)
  4. Dressin’ Up
  5. E.T. (remix with Kayne West, 2/16/11, 15 US, 2 A40, 83 RB, 3 UK, 11 CN, 5 AU, worldwide sales: 9.75 million)
  6. Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.) (featuring Missy Elliott)
  7. Tommie Sunshine's Megasix Smash-Up


Perry presents herself “as a curvy Teenage DreamAMG for her sophomore outing. The image isn’t hard to cultivate considering that she is “blessed with a cheerleader’s body, the face of a second-chair clarinetist and a drama club queen’s lust for the spotlight.” AMG However, while she “is smart enough to know every rule in pop…she’s not inspired enough to ignore them” AMG so the album finds her “raising eyebrows a’la Alanis, strutting like Gwen Stefani and relying on Britney’s hitmaker Max Martin for her hooks.” AMG

Of course, critical acclaim and commercial success are often at odds with each other. Perry’s “not reinventing pop music or trying to change the world, but this album is an accurate barometer of where pop music is today.” CS The album was only the second in history, after Michael Jackson’s Bad, to land five songs at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart – six if you count Part of Me, which was released on the extended Teenage Dream: The Complete Confection.

The album’s lead single, California Gurls, was written as a response to Jay-Z’s #1 “Empire State of Mind.” The ode “to women and the beach lifestyle of California” WK “exemplifies contemporary pop songs: something you can dance along to with catchy lyrics and a hip-hop feature” CS – in this case, a guest appearance from rapper Snoop Dogg. The song generated controversy when the Beach Boys claimed the song appropriated the line “I wish they all could be California Girls” from their own song of the same name. WK

The song “best represents the album’s outlook, which is sunny with a chance of sex,” CS and “sets the tone for Teenage Dream.” RS Throughout, she “piles on the sun-drenched drama” RS with “SoCal ambience and disco beats” RS via “heavy Eighties beats, light on melody, taking a long dip into the Daft Punk filter-disco house sound.” RS The album is filled with “de rigeur lite club beats that easily transition from day to night or the chilly [and] stainless-steel ballads designed to lose none of their luster on repeat plays.” AMG

Following that song to #1 was the album’s title cut, a song with “pop friendly beats that showcase strong vocals comparable to Nicole Scherzinger.” CS It is “the perfect blend of what a pop song should sound like: poppy, danceable beats that complement the songstress’ simple, yet provocative message.” CS “If you’re a fan of songs with little depth, then Perry’s got you hooked.” CS

Third to the top was the song Firework, which was inspired by Jack Kerouac’s novel On the Road. WK The song “begins with a soft string section and builds into a full-fledged dance anthem” CS worthy of the “Jersey Shore crew fist-pumping all night long at a club near you.” CS Perry has said it is her favorite song on the album. CS

A remixed version of E.T. with a rap from Kanye West gave Perry her fourth #1 from the album. The song “replicates Ryan Tedder’s glassy robotic alienation…but tellingly avoids ripping off Lady Gaga, who is just too meta for the blunt Katy – but these are merely accents to her old One of the Boys palette.” AMG

She made it to the top a fifth time with ““the kegger romp” RS Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.) on which Perry “salutes fellow attention-whore Ke$ha.” AMG

The One That Got Away, “one of her best songs,” RS was released as the sixth single from the album. Perry embraces “mall romance” RS as she sings “I was June and you were Johnny Cash,” but “it’s understood that she’s thinking of the scrubbed-up Hollywood version of June and Johnny from Walk the Line. But that’s just part of what makes her such a true California girl.” RS

As for the non-singles, Circle the Drain, presumably written about her ex, singer Travie McCoy, is “a kiss-off to a rocker hooked on pills.” RS On Who Am I Living For “Perry riffs on the biblical story of Esther, the Jewish orphan who married the Persian king and uncovered a plot to exterminate the Jews. It’s dark and complelling, especially since she sings it like Rihanna.” RS Not Like the Movies finds Katy “sobbing on the floor over her tragic love life…a proud tradition of suburban girls who like their emotional meltdowns Hollywood-size.” RS

At times Perry can rely on “desperate vulgarity” AMG and “none of it actually arousing,” AMG “wooing a suitor with ‘you make me feel like I’m losing my virginity,’ extolling the virtues of blackouts and an accidental ménage a trois, melting popsicles, pleading for a boy to show her his Peacock (chanting ‘cock cock cock’ just in case we at home didn’t get the single entendre).” AMG “It’s tiring because, at her heart, Perry is old-fashioned” AMG she gave “her best post-One of the Boys song, ‘I Do Not Hook Up,’ to Kelly Clarkson; its pro-abstinence rally flies in the face of the masturbatory daydream she’s constructed.” AMG

“All this labor produces fetching magazine covers…and grabbing videos but it undoes her records, since we always hear her fighting to be frivolous. And all Perry wants to do is have fun: all she wants is to frolic in the spotlight.” AMG

Review Source(s):


Sunday, August 15, 2010

50 years ago: Elvis Presley hit #1 with “It’s Now Or Never”

It’s Now Or Never

Elvis Presley

Writer(s): Aaron Schroeder, Wally Gold (see lyrics here)

Released: July 5, 1960

First Charted: July 18, 1960

Peak: 15 US, 14 CB, 13 HR, 7 RB, 19 UK, 13 CN, 17 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 4.0 US, 1.26 UK, 22.0 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 84.8 video, -- streaming

Awards: (Click on award for more details).

About the Song:

Elvis Presley’s favorite song BR and biggest hit, with international sales topping 20 million, BR dates back to the beginning of the 20th century. In 1901, G. Capurro and Eduardo di Capua wrote the Italian aria “O Sole Mio,” which translates to “my sunshine.” BR It was first recorded in 1907 by Giuseppe Anselmi SF and made famous by Enrico Caruso in 1916. Tony Martin recorded an English version in 1949 with the title “There’s No Tomorrow.” KL

While overseas in the Army, Elvis heard “O Sole Mio” BB100 and after his publishers couldn’t reach a deal for him to record the “Tomorrow” version, they went to the famed Brill Building writers and asked four separate teams to craft new lyrics for the song. Aaron Schroeder and Wally Gold came up with the best version KL with “It’s Now Or Never.” It borrows the chord progression and melody of the original. SF Elvis even brought the version of “O Sole Mio” by Mario Lanza to the studio as a blueprint. KL It helped him develop “a more adult, operatic sound” than anything he’d recorded before, BR marking his transition from a “rock ‘n’ roll singer to an adult entertainer.” KL

Due to copyright disputes over the original “O Sole Mio,” the song took a few more months before it saw release in Britain. BR Anticipation was so high when it was released in November that it became The King’s second single to enter the British chart at #1 and was the country’s fastest-selling single in history. BR The song returned to the top of the British charts a second in 2005 when a batch of Elvis singles were re-released.

Worthy of note – famed singer Barry White heard this song while in jail for stealing tires. It had such an impact, he decided to pursue a music career. SF

Resources and Related Links:

  • DMDB encyclopedia entry for Elvis Presley
  • BB100 Billboard (9/08). “All-Time Hot 100
  • BR Fred Bronson (2003). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits (5th edition). Billboard Books: New York, NY. Page 73.
  • KL Jon Kutner and Spencer Leigh (2005). 1000 UK Number One Hits: The Stories Behind Every Number One Single Since 1952. London, Great Britain: Omnibus Press. Page 70.
  • SF Songfacts

First posted 7/12/2012; last updated 4/25/2021.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Once Upon a Time in the Pre-MP3 Era

Gather ‘round, children, for a tale of the days of old when music came from stores instead of cyberspace. What now takes up mere megabytes on a hard drive or an iPod once occupied actual physical space – be it piano rolls, sheet music, 78 RPM records, LPs, cassettes, 8-tracks, or compact discs.

The 8-Track Era

My first dip into the music-as-consumable-product pool came in my tween years. It was the late ’70s and the 8-track had dreams of knocking the LP off its throne. The chunky tape owes its existence to the impracticality of blasting Ted Nugent from a record player while tooling around town in a Trans Am. There was a trade-off; 8-tracks erased the luxury of dropping a needle on a specific song or location within one. And while records might scratch, warp, or even break if abused enough, they never punished listeners with loud, annoying ka-klunks mid-song.

With portability being the 8-track’s only pro and me being a few years shy of the teen dream of blasting whatever I chose from my car stereo, I inexplicably dove into the album world via the 8-track. My first album purchase was a K-Tel various artists compilation called High Energy. While mostly disco *ahem* “classics”, it also inexplicably included Styx’s “Renegade”. Why this album rock standard was keeping company with Amii Stewart’s funked-up take of “Knock on Wood” remains a mystery, but it got K-Tel’s grubby hands on my wallet.

The Cassette Is King

With an eye on correcting the 8-track’s flaws, the cassette introduced fast forward and rewind capability and – most importantly – recordability. Now any tune that traversed its way across the radio airwaves was within grasp of any kid with a tape recorder – so long as DJ-interrupted or chopped-off song intros and outros were acceptable.

My first tape garnered me no bragging rights of growth in musical taste. People deserve forgiveness for their first, generally peer-influenced and therefore often dubious, musical purchases. However, my pass had expired by the time I plunked down change for the Xanadu soundtrack, by Olivia Newton-John and Electric Light Orchestra. Even ONJ and ELO fans don’t hail it as either’s greatest work. Nonetheless, I’ll confess to still having a “you’ll-always-cherish-your-first-love” fondness for it.

It was during the cassette-dominated first half of the ‘80s, however, that my radio dial shifted from Q104’s top 40 format to the album rock of KY102. Styx’s “Renegade” was no longer the abnormality amongst pop-oriented fare, but the standard bearer. When my friend Nick and I plunged into the buy-12-albums for-a-penny record club, my first acquisitions included Styx’s Paradise Theater (natch), Journey’s Escape, Foreigner 4, REO Speedwagon’s Hi Infidelity, Queen’s Greatest Hits, and J. Geils Band’s Freeze Frame. They didn’t afford me the hip quotient of Elvis Costello or the Clash, but they were a step-up from the Olivia, John Denver, and Neil Diamond fare in my eight-track collection.

My college years significantly expanded my musical palette. My roommate Steve was buying Aerosmith and Deep Purple and I was taping the Rush and Led Zep catalogs thanks to Steve’s head-banging pal Blake.

Ah, but Blake’s was only one music collection. Every new person represented a new audio library. More than once, I drooled my way back to my dorm room with handfuls of tapes borrowed from recent acquaintances surely skeptical about ever seeing their music again. To all the whoever-you-weres out there – thanks for Squeeze, Violent Femmes, the Smiths, the Indigo Girls – all the alternative-rock oriented stuff that most shaped my music personality. And yes, I think I returned everything.

When I wanted to actually buy music, options were limited. With Wal-Mart being my college town’s only music source, I had to satiate my hunger with occasional road trips to Streetside Records in Sedalia with my fellow tune-obsessed buddy Mike, who also conveniently had a car (a Mustang with “Bad Co.” vanity plates, no less).

Marillion, Malls, and Music Exchange

My most important college-era purchase, however, was over Christmas break during my freshman year. That fall, Marillion’s “Kayleigh” mustered a fair amount of radio airplay on KY. I was intrigued by the song, but hesitant to shell out the dough for the whole album. After all, these were pre-Internet days. There was no surfing Amazon.com to hear track samples. There weren’t used-CD stores for test spinning discs via in-store players. One had only the radio and friends to rely on – and if neither of them were playing it, you were out of luck.

However, taking the plunge was softened by my giddiness about being back on my home turf where I could shop at multiple music stores under one roof (kids, they called them malls – they’re now nearly as extinct as the 8-track). Having some Santa stocking money to blow made the art work of the song’s parent album, Misplaced Childhood, even more appealing. Just what was inside this painting of a barefoot kid in a military jacket surrounded by a rainbow, a magpie, and a poppy flower? Well, when I plunked my cash on the Camelot counter, I took the leap into what became my favorite album of all-time.

Obviously, not every risk has paid off so swimmingly. I’ve nabbed my share of duds that gathered dust on the shelf until eventual banishment to the discard pile. Still, even they resulted in fond memories. The artsy part of town that housed most of Kansas City’s bars also offered up the metro area’s best options for purchasing used music. I’d traipse down to Westport, usually with Steve #2 (so named here to distinguish him from Steve #1, my college roommate), to trade my cast-offs in hopes of venturing home with a new batch of listening treasures.

Steve #2 was quite the sport to tolerate my obsessive need to hit not one, but several stores on each spree. Music Exchange was a given, but there were other shops to hit as well. Steve #2 also patiently endured my methodical search through everything from A to Z. I often left with a dozen or more tapes. I might grab up four or five Sammy Hagar or Bob Seger albums, not because I wanted their complete discographies, but because I was trying to compile anthologies. Once I’d recorded the requisite tunes on to my own greatest-hits collection, back to the discard pile the source material went.

The Dawn of the Disc

I treaded reluctantly into the CD age. As music collectors can attest, there’s nothing quite so maddening as having to overhaul one’s music library to stay technologically current. My first venture into the world of discs was with Marillion’s 1987 album Clutching at Straws, the follow-up to Misplaced Childhood. I didn’t actually own a CD player, but had to have the bonus track not on my cassette version. Thankfully, the Steve who lived across the hall (Steve #3 for those keeping track), let me listen on his CD player.

Needless to say, it was far from my final CD. In my post-collegiate twenty-something years, I became a disc fiend. What used to be pilgrimages to Westport were now weekly treks to Disc Traders (often right after a trip to the library to read up on new releases in Billboard magazine). I was a regular on a first-name basis with the staff and bought more than a few of their recommendations. Thanks, Dan! Thanks, Saul!

A dozen years and over a thousand CDs later, I welcomed the new millennium as a newlywed and a thirty-something. I was now supposed to limit my music spending to only a handful of albums a year, and all by artists I’d first heard 20 years ago. However, music obsession trumps age and I continued to spend every bit of leisurely cash on music by new and established artists.

The Revolution Will Be Converted to MP3 Files

Another music revolution accompanied my life changes. This time, however, it came not at the hands of big-time record execs, but college student and computer programmer Shawn Fanning. The recording industry tried desperately to put the Napster genie back in the bottle. The same companies who shamelessly milked the record-buying public through the LP, 8-track, cassette, and CD eras now made the brilliant move of suing their customer base for illegal downloading and copyright infringement. This was the kind of PR nightmare that made the makers of New Coke breathe sighs of relief that finally, for the first time since 1985, someone else could be the brunt of all the worst-marketing-moves-ever jokes.

I expanded my music library by leaps and bounds. Initially, I burned my legal and ill-gotten booty onto disc (a Clapton in the ‘90s collection was the first CD I made). Eventually, though, the reality of the new age dawned on me and my computer hard drive now houses more music (35,497 songs as of this writing) than my wall of CDs.

What’s next? A card that fits in your wallet that lets you access your entire collection anywhere you go? Music on-demand just by thinking a tune and having it play in your brain? Who knows. But I’ll be ready to overhaul my collection again when the time comes.