Dark Horse (Katy Perry song)
|Promotional single by Katy Perry featuring Juicy J from the album Prism|
|Released||September 17, 2013|
"Dark Horse" is a song written and recorded by American singer Katy Perry featuring rapper Juicy J for her fourth studio album, Prism. Perry confirmed that it would be released on September 17, 2013 as the first promotional single from the album, but not as the album's second single. Prior to the single release, the song was one of two songs – the other being "Walking On Air" – that were in competition to be released before the album's actual release date. The competition was hosted by Pepsi and the fans voted for the winner by tweeting. Despite not being released as an official single, the song has charted in the top 10 in New Zealand, Australia, and Canada, and in the top 20 in the United States, Scotland, and Ireland. The track received largely positive reviews from music critics, who complimented the song's darker sound and Perry's vocal performance. The song was certified Platinum in New Zealand.
In June 2012, Perry revealed in an interview with L'Uomo Vogue that after the release of her autobiographical film, Katy Perry: Part of Me, planned to take a hiatus before recording her album Prism, saying:
I'm going into hiding. I want to go and write songs in the woods or something. I'm gonna unplug, take my hair extensions out, feel my head again. I'm gonna unplug and recharge, if that makes any sense. I'm gonna go away. I'm sure you know it's time for me to go the fuck away.
She later reiterated these statements in an interview with Billboard and also mentioned:
I know exactly the record I want to make next. I know the artwork, the coloring and the tone..... I even know what type of tour I'm doing next. I'll be very pleased if the vision I have in my head becomes a reality.
In April 2013, Perry announced that she was halfway done with the album.
Speaking on the song, Perry said: "It's kind of a juxtaposition. It's got me, a pop artist, with a little bit of an urban kind of hip-hop-flavored background soundtrack to it. And the lyrics are kind of witchy and dark, as if I was a witch warning this man not to fall in love with me, and 'if you do know I'm going to be your last'." "Dark Horse" was written by Perry and singer-songwriter Sarah Hudson in her hometown of Santa Barbara, California, while the production was handled by Dr. Luke and Max Martin. At the request of Perry, Dr. Luke had personally asked rapper Juicy J to collaborate on the song. During an interview with MTV News, Juicy J was asked if the pair had twerked in the studio together, to which he replied: "No, no, no, no. She’s very professional, everything went smooth and she's a great person." He later told the interviewer that he was impressed by Perry's hands-on approach and work ethic, and also stated "My verse I did on that song, she was singing it. She's really a genius, she was by the mixing board and telling the guy what to take in and take out. She's really hands-on with her music, she knows music".
Promotion and release
On August 20, 2013, two new song titles were revealed: "Dark Horse" and "Walking on Air". In collaboration with Pepsi, fans were given the ability to listen to the snippets of each song, then to decide which one would get an early release by voting on Twitter. On their official website, Pepsi released a press statement saying:
"To build excitement and anticipation for Katy Perry's forthcoming new album, PRISM, MTV and Pepsi today are launching a pioneering tweet-to-unlock and social voting program that encourages fans to decide on one of two new Katy Perry songs from the new record that will be released early on iTunes. Fans who tweet #KATYNOW will unlock clues around two of the album's tracks, including the song titles and select lyrics. Once fans have unlocked the song clues by reaching a certain number of tweets, Pepsi and MTV will unveil the two never-before-heard preview clips via pepsi.mtv.com. Pepsi and MTV give fans a chance to sample the songs and decide which one will be released early by tweeting, using one of two unique hashtags to vote. The winning song, which will be released on Tuesday, September 17 via iTunes album pre-order, will be revealed live on MTV just moments before Katy's VMA performance."
Speaking of working with Perry, the Senior Director of Marketing for Pepsi, Chad Stubbs, said: "We're excited to support a talented and iconic artist like Katy Perry to offer her fans these amazing opportunities, we hope through the continuation of our Iconic Summer program to give consumers a VMA experience that they will never forget." On August 25, 2013, Perry announced the winner through her official Twitter, "YO what a day! #ROAR-ing @ the #VMAs, Tweeting w/POTUS, & now happy to announce U chose #DARKHORSE FT @therealjuicyj to come out Sept 17th!"
Composition and commercial performance
"Dark Horse" has a length of three minutes and thirty-five seconds. The song's has been described as being parts of trap, grime, hip hop, and "Southern rap-techno mashup" genres. Keith Murphy of Vibe called the song "dark and sleazy", going onto declare it an "antithesis" of Perry's previous work. Musically, the song's verses are built around icy rhythms and chopped and screwed vocal samples. The production on "Dark Horse" consists of an undulating hip-hop beat, finger snaps, 808 drum thumps, along with influences of EDM and southern rap. The song's intro have comparison of "Tinggallah Ku Sendiri" (Leave Me Alone) by late Indonesian lady rocker, Nike Ardilla. It is in the key of B-flat minor.
On the Billboard Hot 100, the song debuted at number seventeen on the week-ending October 5. It debuted at number four on the Hot Digital Songs with 194,000 downloads. On the week-ending September 23, "Dark Horse" debuted at number ten on the New Zealand Singles Chart becoming Perry's twelfth top ten. The following week, "Dark Horse rose to number six, just one place short of entering the top five. The song has currently reached a peak of two on the chart, and has been certified gold by RMNZ. In the UK, on the week-ending September 28, "Dark Horse" debuted at number 21 on the UK Singles Chart.
"Dark Horse" received general acclaim from music critics, who praised the song's "darker" and "sexy" sound, and also complimented the song's production and Perry's vocal performance. Natasha Shankar of Sheknows.com gave the song 4 out of 5 stars; complimenting it for its "seductive, mature tone" and "bewitching" sound; comparing it to songs by Keri Hilson, although Shankar noted that the song's lyrics were "cliche". Carolyn Menyes of Mstars News praised Perry for the song's unique sound, describing it as "somewhat grating, but in all the right ways". Menyes also praised Perry's vocals on the track which gave the song a "sexy vibe" and complimented the chorus' "powerful crescendo" and production. James Shotwell of Under the Gun Review called the song's beat "enchanting" and complimented Perry for "bringing some new ideas to the top 40 table". Shotwell noted the song was "another potential chart-topper", although noted that fans of her more upbeat pop songs may be disappointed with the song. Adam R. Holz of Plugged In stated the song was "darker" than most of the songs in her back catalogue. Holz concluded his review of the track by stating the song was addictive. A writer for the Winnipeg Free Press called the song "unexpected, unconventional, and unstoppable". Keith Murphy of Vibe described the song as "dark and sleazy without the morning after guilt" and called the lyrics "clever". Murphy described the song as "infectiously sexy" and stated he didn't have any complaints about the song.
"Dark Horse" was first performed at the iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas on September 20, 2013, with a selection of other songs from Perry's previous albums, as well as her lead single off Prism, "Roar". It was later performed at the iTunes Festival in London alongside "Roar", "Walking on Air", and "By the Grace of God", a new song from Prism, as well as a number of songs from her previous albums.
- Digital download
- "Dark Horse" – 3:35
|Australian ARIA Digital Track Chart||5|
|Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)||45|
|Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia)||43|
|Canada (Canadian Hot 100)||8|
|Netherlands (Mega Single Top 100)||74|
|New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)||2|
|Scotland (Official Charts Company)||17|
|UK Singles (Official Charts Company)||21|
|US Billboard Hot 100||17|
|Worldwide||September 17, 2013||Digital download||Capitol Records|
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