Katy Perry is "Wide Awake" in her new video
Katy Perry's teenage dream is finally over. "Wide Awake," the eighth and final single off Teenage Dream sees Perry sing about completion, realization and "falling from Cloud 9" -- and takes a few jabs at her failed marriage to Russell Brand, too.
The music video, which was just released, however, mostly sidesteps the estrangement visually and instead opts for a Katy-in-Wonderland quest for personal clarity. Because when you have just endured a very public divorce, returning to your childhood roots could be exactly what the doctor ordered.
Whereas the video to her previous single "Part Of Me" illustrated Perry as a fiercely independent woman free of her relationship, "Wide Awake" shows how much she's changed from when she was a little girl to when she released "I Kissed A Girl" to when she released "California Gurls."
Of course, it's all perfectly timed -- with her all-access, 3D movie, Katy Perry: Part Of Me, coming out in two weeks, "Wide Awake" serves as the film's main song and even serves up its overall message. In its music video presentation, though, "Wide Awake" provides even more definition to an otherwise unpredictable pop star.
Perry has changed a lot since when she first decided to go pop. We know this. We are constantly reminded of her former Christian singer-songwriter ways -- and you can fully anticipate her movie to dig deeper into her pre-bi-curious past. But the "Wide Awake" video also highlights an even deeper reason to be fascinated by Perry: She knows that her music is poppy and escapist, but what happens when she can't escape the escapism? When she can't find her way back from Candyfornia? Being a pop star hasn't been as easy as she has made it look in these last four years.
And that's where the purple hair and the maze theme of "Wide Awake" (not to be confused with the lust-driven maze sequence of Chris Brown's "Don't Wake Me Up" new music video) come in. Eight singles from one album and Perry has trapped herself in her own teenage dream, strawberries and all.
As hard as it has been to release number-one single after number-one single, the video leads you to conclude it's been even harder for Perry -- at least after her very public divorce, anyway -- to continue to do what she loves to do, especially when she's felt so conflicted and "dark" for the latter part of this album campaign.
That is, the part of the Teenage Dream campaign that felt less like a dream and more like a Lewis Carol-penned nightmare -- beginning when a song called "The One That Got Away" was released as a single immediately after her divorce, only to be the one song from Teenage Dream that didn't top the Billboard Hot 100 chart. In a game of numbers, two of her ones did indeed get away.
While "Part Of Me" showed the world that Perry would be able to make it out there on her own, "Wide Awake" shows that Perry's fall back down to earth has left her a little black and blue -- er, purple -- on the inside. But she has kept going. No wonder this is the final chapter of the Teenage Dream saga: Perry is done dreaming. She's wide awake, and she's done with the little-girl fantasies of happily ever-afters. A bit jaded but much more aware, Katy Perry has gone through the ringer and still shows signs of coming out on top.
Follow Backbeat on Twitter: @westword_music
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene with music features, additional online music listings and show picks. We'll also send special ticket offers and music promotions available only to our Music Newsletter subscribers.