Search This Blog

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Katy Perry - A California Girl with a "Teenage Dream"

I don't know what it is about summer, but I'm finding that some of the greatest songs that have ever hit the top of the Billboard charts have done so between the months of July and September. 

Something tells me that the next two months of the Sunday Jukebox feature are going to be a lot of fun to write about!  In fact, I've already selected this week's summer smash.  And the good news for some of you who like fairly recent music is that this song is only four years old!

(Though, when I was doing the research for this song, I was actually shocked that it really was released four years ago!  I didn't even think it had been that long.  My goodness.  We're all getting old, aren't we?)

Anyway, I'll reveal the artist right off the bat.  We're going to be doing our music spotlight on Katy Perry.  I'm sure most of you have heard of her by now.  The now 29-year-old woman from Santa Barbara, California (who was born with the name of Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson) burst onto the music scene in 2001 with an album of gospel songs recorded under her birth name.  To think that it would take seven years and a name change before she would experience the sweet taste of success with the highly infectious (and controversial) single "I Kissed a Girl".

And she liked it!

Of course, this was back in 2008.  The song I've selected for the Sunday Jukebox spotlight came out in 2010.  Now, what was happening in Katy Perry's life right around the year 2010?

Ah, yes.  That was the year that she released her third studio album, "Teenage Dream".  And I'm sure that you've probably guessed by now that today's song comes from this very successful album.

And just how successful was "Teenage Dream"?  Well, let's just say that the album was quite the little record-breaker.  Some records previously held by other artists were tied, while others were dethroned.  Here is just a list of achievements that "Teenage Dream" has to its name...

- The album had FIVE #1 singles on the Billboard Charts, tying the record with Michael Jackson who first held that record with his 1987 album "Bad".
- Katy Perry became the first female artist in the Billboard Charts history to have five singles hit #1 from the same album.
- When the album was re-released in 2012 (under the title of "Teenage Dream: The Complete Confection") with some new singles added to the mix, it became one of three albums to have eight singles to reach the Top 3 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 (The other two albums were George Michael's "Faith" and Janet Jackson's "Rhythm Nation 1814").
- Broke the record previously held by Beyonce when "Teenage Dream" became the first album to have NINE singles top the Billboard Hot Dance
- Broke the record held by Lady Gaga for having the most consecutive #1 singles on the Mainstream Top 40 (if you add her 2009 single "Waking Up in Vegas").
- Spent a total of 69 consecutive weeks on the Hot 100's Top 10.
- Became the only artist to spend a total of over 52 consecutive weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 charts, beating out the previous record held by "Ace of Base" since 1995.
- The combined number of singles from "Teenage Dream" spent a total of 225 consecutive weeks on the Billboard 100 - easily shattering the previous record held by Michael Jackson, whose singles from his 1982 album "Thriller" only spent a combined total of 130 weeks.

Love her or leave her, you have to agree that "Teenage Dream" did achieve a lot of accolades, and deservedly so.  In fact, you may as well include me in the "love" list, as I definitely like most everything that Katy Perry has done.  I may not listen to a lot of current music these days, but I'll admit that I do enjoy Katy Perry.  At least the majority of her songs are happy and upbeat, and actually contain lyrics that are made up of mostly real words unlike other songs from other artists (even if the spelling on some of the song titles isn't one hundred per cent accurate). 

So, I thought that it would be a great tribute to a great album by featuring the song that kicked off the Katy Perry love train.  And it's a song that was at the top of the charts exactly four years ago this week.

ARTIST:  Katy Perry f. Snoop Dogg
SONG:  California Gurls
ALBUM:  Teenage Dream
DATE RELEASED:  May 7, 2010

Ah, yes.  "California Gurls".  The song that celebrated the joys of Daisy Dukes, bikinis on top, and sun-kissed skin so hot you'll melt your popsicle!  This was the song that helped Katy Perry live out a teenage dream at the ripe old age of twenty-five years old!  And she had a little help from her pal Snoop Doggy Dogg Snoop Dogg Snoop Lion Snoop Whatever Animal He Decides To Be Today!  Together they made one of the most infectious summer hits of the twenty-first century so far, and for Katy Perry, it was a song that certainly allowed her to express her wild and vivid creativity.

Just look at the music video which is based off of the board game "Candy Land" - albeit a warped version of the game.  I don't know too many board games that feature gummi bears with an attitude, gingerbread men in tighty-whities, a naked Katy Perry sprawled atop a cloud made of cotton candy, and a bra that shoots out whipped cream as though it's going out of style.  But as a music video, it certainly was a colourful mix of imagery and art that blended well with the happy-go-lucky attitude that the song presented.

It certainly helped catapult the single all the way to #1 in the United States.  And, that's not the only place in the world where it became a #1 hit.  It also topped the charts in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Hungary, Ireland, New Zealand, Poland, Scotland, the United Kingdom, and Venezuela.

As for the story behind the lyrics?  Well, there's not that much of a deep explanation behind it.  Katy Perry herself was a California girl, and Snoop Doggy Dogg Snoop Dogg Snoop Lion Snoop Whatshisname also hailed from "The Golden State".  But how Snoop ended up becoming a part of one of Katy Perry's biggest hits was an interesting tale. 

Would you believe that the online encyclopedia known as "Wikipedia" helped get Snoop the job on the single?  Katy Perry knew that since she was doing a song entitled "California Gurls", she really wanted a rapper from the West Coast, and Snoop stood out as being the guy that she wanted to work with the most.

TRIVIA:  I suppose you're wondering why the song has a misspelling in the title.  Originally, it was supposed to be titled with the correct spelling of "California Girls", but after the death of Big Star member Alex Chilton (whose band released the single September Gurls), the decision was made to alter the name of the single in tribute to Chilton.

So, you all know how the rest of the story goes.  "California Gurls" became a major hit for Katy Perry three months before "Teenage Dream" the album was released in stores.  The title track of "Teenage Dream" followed suit.  Then came "Firework", "E.T.", "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.), "The One That Got Away", "Part of Me", and finally "Wide Awake".  Those mark a little over two whole years of music.  And with a movie under her belt as well as her 2013 album "Prism" still making its way on the charts (the latest single "Birthday" was released in April 2014), Katy Perry shows no sign of slowing down as she approaches her thirtieth birthday this fall.

I think that no matter what the future holds for Katy Perry, one thing you can say for sure is that this California girl made her teenage dream come true, and is now letting her colours burst whenever she can.

No, that wasn't awkward at all, was it?  

No comments:

Post a Comment