The One That Got Away (Katy Perry song)

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"The One That Got Away"
A purple hair women named "Katy Perry" looking at the sky with disc-shapped hat
Single by Katy Perry
from the album Teenage Dream
Released October 4, 2011
Format
Recorded 2010 at Conway Recording Studios, (Hollywood, California)
Genre Pop
Length 3:47
Label Capitol
Writer(s)
Producer(s)
Katy Perry singles chronology
"Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)"
(2011)
"The One That Got Away"
(2011)
"Part of Me"
(2012)
Music video
"The One That Got Away" on YouTube

"The One That Got Away" is a song by American recording artist Katy Perry for her third studio album, Teenage Dream (2010). The song was produced by Dr. Luke and Max Martin, both of whom also co-wrote the song with Perry. The song is a mid-tempo pop ballad about a lost love. It features references to the rock band Radiohead as well as the relationship of Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash to express the strength of the relationship. "The One That Got Away" received mostly positive reviews from most music critics, who complimented Perry's serious tone. The song was released in October 2011 by Capitol Records as the sixth and final single from the album.

"The One That Got Away" peaked at number three on Billboard Hot 100, with Teenage Dream becoming the seventh album in the 53-year history of the Hot 100 to generate at least six top 10s. However, the song is the only single from Teenage Dream that missed to reach the first position on the chart. The single reached the top of Billboard's Hot Dance Club Songs, Adult Top 40 and Mainstream Top 40 charts, both more than any other album in chart's history.

The accompanying music video for the song was directed by Floria Sigismondi and premiered in November 2011, featuring actor Diego Luna. An official remix featuring rapper B.o.B was released to digital retailers on December 20, 2011.[1] An official acoustic was released to digital retailers on January 16, 2012, this version was included in Teenage Dream: The Complete Confection edition.[2] "The One That Got Away" is one of only two releases from the Teenage Dream era to fail to achieve number one status on the Billboard Hot 100, the other being "Wide Awake". "The One That Got Away" is also the lowest charting single from the "Teenage Dream" era. The song has been covered by several artists, including Richard Marx, Jordan Pruitt, and Selena Gomez & the Scene.

Background and artwork[edit]

On September 13, 2011, at the New York City's Irving Plaza, Capitol Records confirmed to Billboard that "The One That Got Away" would be the sixth single from Teenage Dream.[3] Perry said in a statement from the label:

"I'm so pleased to select 'The One That Got Away' as my sixth single because this song shows a very different side of me that I haven't shown with my past singles on this record, I think that everyone can relate to this song. I wrote [it] about when you promise someone forever, but you end up not being able to follow through. It's a bittersweet story. Hopefully, the listener learns from hearing it and never has to say they had 'The One' get away."[4]

Capitol Records said that they are not specifically releasing the song in hopes of it reaching number one and re-writing Hot 100 history (since Perry was the first woman to obtain five No. 1s on the chart from one album), rather the decision came out of "Perry's fondness for the song, its ear-catching hook and her obvious track record of success at pop radio".[3] EMI Music/Capitol Records EVP/marketing and promotion Greg Thompson told Billboard that, "if it goes to No. 1, that would be great, If not, we still have a Katy song on the radio in fourth quarter", presumably boosting sales for Teenage Dream in the Christmas season.[3] "The One That Got Away" officially impacted U.S. radio on October 11, 2011.[4]

In late September 2011, Perry wrote the following message on her Twitter account: "The One That Got Away... It's happening!!!", along with a picture of the official single artwork.[5] The artwork shows a pink-haired Perry looking up at the sky while wearing a disc-shaped hat. The photo gives a whimsical nod to the 1970s, with its distinctively retro appearance.[6]

Composition and writing[edit]

A 32-second sample of "The One That Got Away", a pop ballad.

Problems playing this file? See media help.

Originally titled "In Another Life",[7] the song was produced by Dr. Luke and Max Martin, both of whom co-wrote it with Perry.[8] It is a midtempo pop song positioned on the piece of E major and has a tempo of 134 beats per minute.[9][10] Joanna Holcombe from Yahoo! Music noted that the song is about first loves.[11] Leah Greenblatt from Entertainment Weekly, said that the song is "a midtempo ode to a summer-after-high-school love with whom she recalls sharing Mustang makeout sessions to Radiohead'".[12] Michael Wood from Spin magazine said that the song is one of the album's quieter cuts and that it recall(s) "Perry's singer-songwriter days at L.A.'s Hotel Café".[13] The song follows the chord progression of E–G♯m–C♯m–A, and Perry's vocal range spans from B3 to E5.[10] Kitty Empire noticed that Perry's vocal is wistful throughout the song and that the references to June and Johnny Cash were unexpected.[14] Rob Sheffield from Rolling Stone stated that when Perry sings, 'I was June, and you were my Johnny Cash,' "it's understood that she's thinking of the scrubbed-up Hollywood version of June and Johnny, from Walk the Line."[15]

Critical reception[edit]

Perry signing autographs for fans after performing the song on The X Factor.

Kerri Mason from Billboard described the song as "delectable", noting that it has more texture than anything on Perry's previous album, One of the Boys.[16] Mikael Wood from Spin Magazine said that although "Perry delivers the gurl-gone-wild stuff with requisite sass", she actually "sounds more engaged on 'Not Like the Movies,' and 'The One That Got Away'.[13] Similarly, Kitty Empire from The Guardian praised the collaboration, stating that Perry and Luke are at their most appealing in the song.[14] In a similar note, Rob Sheffield from Rolling Stone, stated that Perry is more at home with the mall romance of "The One That Got Away".[15] The same opinion was echoed by Greg Kot from Chicago Tribune who felt that Perry sounds more invested in the more "serious" songs on the album, such as "The One That Got Away". However, he added that it's as if Perry is "determined to balance the summer frothiness with a few shots of 'adult' earnestness".[17] Leah Greenblatt from Entertainment Weekly was not satisfied with the selection of the song as the sixth single, noting that there are better songs on the album that could have been chosen instead.[12] Robert Copsey of the website Digital Spy awarded the song with four out of five stars and said:

"'Summer after high school, when we first met/ We make out in your Mustang, to Radiohead,' Katy Perry reminisces on the opening of her latest, potentially record-breaking single. We've always known that she had a penchant for the alt-rock, but we wonder if KP's 18-year-old self ever thought she'd be substituting the sounds of Thom Yorke and co. for the sugar-coated melodies that have made her one of the best-known artists on the planet today? 'Used to steal our parents' liquor, and climb through the roof/ Talk about our future, like we had a clue,' she continues over a toe-tapping drum beat and delicate piano riff as she agonises over the loss of her one true love. 'In another life, I would be your girl/ We'd keep all our promises/ Be us against the world,' she mourns on a chorus as instantly satisfying as a mugful of Kenco. Word of advice Katy, we'd keep this one well away from Russell if you want to avoid history repeating itself."[18]

Music video[edit]

Background[edit]

Diego Luna is Perry's love interest in the video.

On September 28, 2011, Capitol Records told Billboard that the video for "The One That Got Away" will be filmed "in the coming days".[19] Perry started filming for the video on September 30, 2011. Filming ended on October 2, 2011.[20] The Video was shot at the Lima Residence, a contemporary home located in Calabasas an affluent city in Los Angeles. Mexican actor Diego Luna plays Perry's boyfriend in the video.[21] Photos from the set surfaced online, showing Perry wearing a conservative long-sleeved dress as well as sporting gray hair and prosthetic face wrinkles.[22] The video was directed by Floria Sigismondi, who previously directed the video for "E.T."[23] The music video premiered on November 11, 2011.[24]

On November 4, 2011, a teaser for the video was released, narrated by Stevie Nicks.[25] Nicks provides the elderly woman's voice, speaking about the past and her desire to go back for one day. The video contains scenes of her and her past boyfriend (Luna) fighting, intertwined with scenes of them in love. She is later shown as a nostalgic, elderly woman dressed conservatively and standing by a fence looking into the distance.[26] A seven-minute extended version of the video was shown on November 11, 2011, exclusively at select advance screenings of the motion picture My Week with Marilyn.[27] As of April 2014, the video has over 223 million views on YouTube.[28]

Synopsis[edit]

An aged Katy Perry in the music video for "The One That Got Away".

Released on November 11, 2011, the video begins with an elderly woman (Katy Perry) in a white long-sleeved dress walking through a modernistic home. She blandly walks past her husband (played by Herman Sinitzyn), hinting that the two are in a loveless marriage. While making herself a cup of coffee, the elderly woman, unhappy with her present situation, begins to think about her colorful past when the song begins: her younger self with her artist boyfriend (played by Diego Luna). As the song plays, the happy girl and the boyfriend paint portraits of each other, dress up wildly, dance at a party, and gives each other a makeshift tattoo.

As the elderly woman sadly reminisces while siting on her (and the husband's) fancy bedroom alone in a silk nightgown, her younger self and the boyfriend get into an argument which culminates in her splashing red paint on one of his elaborate paintings after he did the same to one of hers and he leaves angrily then drives away. The woman's younger self appears to her older self's bedroom with each on the bed as they both sing. The younger version is also shown in her older self's closet, crying and singing while the boyfriend is seen driving in a colt mustang to blow off steam from the fight. At the same time in the present, the older woman is shown driving out of her garage in a similar type of car the boyfriend is driving in the flashback.

When the boyfriend opens the sun visor above him while driving and finds the veil of the dress the younger version had worn while partying, he stares at the veil, hinting that he decides to make up with her. But he does not notice the large boulders on the road from a small rock slide. He swerves to avoid the rocks and accidentally drives off a cliff to which he dies in the subsequent crash without getting a chance to make up while the woman's younger self also 'dies' at the same time (possibly representing the death of her colorful personality). The song ends abruptly as the sounds of the car violently rolling are heard.

While Johnny Cash's cover of "You Are My Sunshine" plays quietly in the background, the woman's older self now sports a dark conservative long-sleeved dress and revealed to have driven to that same spot where the boyfriend had died. She walks up to the edge of the cliff and leans against a fence when the boyfriend (either a ghost or a hallucination) appears before her on the other side of the fence. The two hold hands, revealing matching tattoos on their hands. When the older woman snaps back to reality, the Johnny Cash music stops suddenly and the boyfriend vanishes. Saddened, the elderly woman turns back and silently walks away from the cliff as the screen fades to black.

Extended version[edit]

A seven-minute director's cut version was shown exclusively at select advance screenings of the motion picture My Week with Marilyn on November 11, 2011.[27] The extended version shows a more cinematic side to the plot of the original music video and includes never-before-seen footage, as well as extended dialogue between the characters.

Reception[edit]

Jillian Mapes of Billboard commented that the video was "beautifully-shot" and praised the interesting plot.[29] A writer of Rolling Stone wrote: "It's a cute clip for a sweet song, but the heavy-handed aging makeup is hard to get over."[30] Erin Strecker from Entertainment Weekly compared the video with Titanic (1997) and Rihanna's video for "We Found Love". Strecker also noted that the video was more "tragic" than he was expecting from Perry.[31] Jocelyn Vena of MTV News said: "Katy Perry's moody, contemplative clip for 'The One That Got Away' perfectly encapsulates both the joy of falling in love and the heartbreak of letting go. It travels through time and space and recalls the story of Perry's one that got away."[32] Consequence of Sound's Chris Coplan called the video a "little more somber" than the videos Perry made for "E.T." and "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)".[33]

The Sims 3 version[edit]

On January 17, 2012, Electronic Arts announced that they would be teaming up with Perry to help promote their new expansion pack for The Sims game franchise called The Sims 3: Showtime which sees the release of a limited collector's edition that contains in-game content based on herself. An official music video for "The One That Got Away" featuring Perry as a Sim was uploaded on their official YouTube channel. The storyline shows a female sim and her love interest falling in love and getting married. One day, the male sim collapses in the bathroom floor, he is taken to the hospital and then dies. His wife is then seen mourning at his funeral. Suddenly, she is transported "to another life", Katy's Candyfornia featured in her California Gurls music video, where her love interest is still alive and well; they reunite and kiss. It also features most of the in-game content that will be included for the collector's edition of the Sims 3: Showtime and in the stuff pack The Sims 3: Katy Perry's Sweet Treats.[34][35]

Chart performance[edit]

Perry performs "The One That Got Away"

On the week ending October 16, 2011, the song debuted at number 94 on Billboard Hot 100.[36] In its sixth week it entered the top 10 making Teenage Dream one of only seven albums in Billboard's 53-year history to have six singles enter the top 10.[37] On December 24, 2011, The single later entered the top five, making Teenage Dream one of three albums to have six or more top-five singles from one album on the chart.[38][39][40] On December 31, 2011, the single fell one position.[41] On the charts dated January 7, 2012, helped by the release of the remix with B.o.B., the single reached number three on the Hot 100, and it topped the Hot Dance Club Songs chart, the seventh song on the album to do so setting a new record in the chart.[42][43] On January 14, 2012, the single stayed in the same position as the previous week on the Hot 100.[44] On January 21, 2012, the single fell from number three to six, and faced the hurdle of breaking the record established by Michael Jackson.[45][46] On week January 28, 2012, the song remained stable in the same position last week.[47] On February 4, 2012, back to fifth position in the chart.[48] On February 11, 2012, the single dropped to number nine, but stable in the top ten.[49] On February 18, 2012, the single dropped to number 14, leaving the top ten of the chart.[50] Finally, the song fell down to 21 the next week, making it Perry's only Teenage Dream single to fail to reach number one, peaking at three. As of August 2013, the song has sold more than 2,617,000 digital copies in the United States alone.[51] "The One That Got Away" debuted at number 87 in Australia on the week ending October 10, 2011.[52][53] before peaking at number 27. In New Zealand, the song debuted at number 40 and later peaked at number 12. It was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand (RIANZ) after selling 7,500 copies there.[54][55]

Live performances and other versions[edit]

B.o.B was featured on the official remix of The One That Got Away.

"The One That Got Away" was part of the setlist of Perry's worldwide 2011 concert tour, California Dreams Tour. On October 16, 2011, Perry performed the song on the UK version of the The X Factor.[56] Perry performed the song at the American Music Awards on November 20, 2011. Her AMA 2011 performance was followed by a lengthy standing ovation, and presentation of a special award acknowledging Perry as the only female to have five number-one singles from the same album.[57] Perry performed the song as part of a Live Lounge special for BBC Radio 1's Fearne Cotton on March 19, 2012 along with "Part of Me", "Firework", "Thinking of You" and a censored version of "Niggas in Paris".[58]

An official remix, featuring American rapper B.o.B, was released in December 2011. B.o.B added two new verses, one at the beginning and another replacing the bridge of the album version of the song. The decision for Capitol Records to release a remix and reduce the price of the song to give Perry a sixth number-one song has been criticized by some, noting that this is not Perry's first time adding a featured guest to her single releases. The hit single "E.T.", was modified with verses from Kanye West, while "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)" was given a remix featuring Missy Elliott.[59] However, Billboard, which compiles the charts, have issued multiple columns defending Perry and Capitol, underlining that they are operating under chart rules and that numerous other acts, such as Rihanna and Britney Spears, used the same tactics for charting purposes over the years.[60] An acoustic version of the song, produced by Jon Brion and featuring vocals from country group Lady Antebellum, was released to the iTunes Store on January 16, 2012,[61][62] garnering more favorable reviews, with critics noting that "The One That Got Away" sounds very naturally as a ballad.[63] Perry's label, Capitol Records, sponsored a contest in January 2012 encouraging fans to record their own acoustic version of the song for a chance to have it featured on Perry's Facebook wall.[64]


Track listings[edit]

Personnel[edit]

  • Katy Perry – songwriting, all vocals, guitar (Acoustic Version)
  • Dr. Luke – songwriting, producer, drums, keyboards, programming
  • Max Martin – songwriting, producer, drums, keyboards, programming
  • Emily Wright – engineer
  • Sam Holland – engineer
  • Tatiana Gottwald – assistant engineer
  • Serban Ghenea – mixing
  • Jon Hanes – mix engineer
  • Tim Roberts – assistant mix engineer
  • Leon Pendarvis – arrangement, conductor

Credits adapted from Teenage Dream album liner notes.[68]

Charts and certifications[edit]

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (2012) Position
Canadian Hot 100[101] 20
Hungary (Rádiós Top 40)[102] 56
US Billboard Hot 100[103] 41
US Digital Songs[104] 41
US Radio Songs[105] 20
US Adult Contemporary Songs[106] 10
US Adult Pop Songs[107] 15
US Hot Dance Club Songs (Billboard)[108] 21
US Pop Songs[109] 14

Release history[edit]

Country Date Format Version
Australia October 4, 2011 CHR, Nights, AC airplay[110] Album Version
United States October 11, 2011 Mainstream[111] and Rhythmic airplay[112]
October 31, 2011 Hot/Modern/AC airplay[113]
Worldwide[114] December 2, 2011 Digital Remixes EP
United Kingdom[115] December 4, 2011
United States[116] December 6, 2011
United States[117] December 15, 2011 Top 40/Mainstream and Rhythmic radio Remix featuring B.o.B
Worldwide December 20, 2011 Digital download[118]
January 16, 2012 Digital Download[62] Solo Acoustic version

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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