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"By the Grace of God"
Song by Katy Perry from the album Prism
Released October 22, 2013
Recorded November 2012; Rocket Carousel Studios
(Los Angeles, California)
Genre Christian pop
Length 4:28
Label Capitol
Writer
Producer
  • Katy Perry
  • Greg Wells
Prism track listing
"Double Rainbow"
(12)
"By the Grace of God"
(13)
"Spiritual"
(14)

"By the Grace of God" is a song by American singer-songwriter Katy Perry, taken from her fourth studio album Prism (2013). It was written and produced by Perry, along with long-time collaborator Greg Wells. Following the breakdown of her marriage to comedian Russel Brand, Perry entered a period of severe depression, in which time she had nearly committed suicide. In November 2012, Perry entered the recording studio with Wells, whom she said helped her express her emotions through songwriting. They recorded multiple songs in what she described as a "dark time" in her life, including "By the Grace of God" and "Choose Your Battles".

"By the Grace of God" is a sparse Christian pop piano ballad.

Background[edit]

In July 2012, Perry revealed in an interview with L'Uomo Vogue that after the release of her autobiographical film, Katy Perry: Part of Me, she planned to take a hiatus before recording her fourth studio album.[1] On April 18, 2013, Perry announced that she was halfway done the album.[2] In November of 2012, Perry had begun to record her fourth studio album, and had gone into the studio with Greg Wells.[3] According to Perry, "By the Grace of God" was recorded at a "dark time" in her life, before taking a break from recording until March of 2013.[3] She later spoke about the song in an interview with Billboard, saying:

That song is evident of how tough it really was at a certain point. I asked myself, 'Do I want to endure? Should I continue living?', all the songs are real-life moments. I can only write autobiographically. I put all the evidence in the music. I tell my fans if they want to know the real truth about stuff, just listen to the songs.

At an exclusive listening event in New York City, Perry played the entire album for music executives, where "By the Grace of God" was revealed.[4] "By the Grace of God" was written and produced by Perry along with long-time collaborator Greg Wells.[5] In November 2012, it was recorded and engineered at Rocket Carousel Studios in Los Angeles, California by Ian McGregor, and was mixed by Serban Ghenea at MixStar Studios in Virginia Beach, Virginia, while John Hanes engineered the song for mixing.[5] Perry handled the song's vocal production, and Wells was responsible for all instrumentation and programming, including the drums, piano, and synths.[5]

Composition[edit]

"By the Grace of God" is a piano ballad that has a length of four minutes and twenty-eight seconds.[5] It is a Christian pop song, evocative of her debut studio album Katy Hudson (2001).[6] It contains a stripped-down production,[6] accompanied by just a piano, "punctuating" military drums, and synths.[7][5] "By the Grace of God" is written in the key of B major, and contains a moderately slow tempo of 89 beats per minute.[8] Perry's vocals in the song span from the lower note of B3 to the higher note of D5.[8] Jason Lipshutz of Billboard said it "is the most revealing song Perry will likely ever pen" about her failed marriage to comedian Russel Brand, and her ensuing depression.[9]

Critical reception and live performances[edit]

Upon release, "By the Grace of God" received critical acclaim from music critics. Jason Lipshutz of Billboard praised the song, saying Perry "strides out of the abyss with her head held high".[9] Allison Stewart of The Washington Post declared it one of the best ballads of her career, going on to call it: "her most strangely sensible and affecting song ever, one that distances her from her suddenly-more-callow-seeming peers and also from Brand, who is dismissed by the first chorus."[10] John Walker of MTV News noted the song had strong Christian overtones, and praised its limited use of metaphors.[6] Walker went on to say: "Of all of the new elements and stripped-down touches that Katy brought to Prism, this is perhaps the most exciting. Keep it up."[6] Betty Clark of The Guardian felt "By the Grace of God" signaled a distinctive move from her pop past, calling it "bold and brave move from the queen of perky innuendo".[11] In her review of the album, Helen Brown of The Daily Telegraph felt that Perry had finally found herself as a woman and as an artist.[12]

Perry first performed "By the Grace of God" at Roundhouse in London, England for her iTunes Festival set on September 30, 2013. For the performance, she was accompanied by merely a piano and two backup dancers.[13] Writing for The Huffington Post, Madeline Boardman said the song took Perry to a vulnerable place.[13] Betty Clarke of The Guardian noted the improvement in her vocal performance, and showed how far she has come as an artist: "But it's the startling piano ballad By the Grace of God – played here for the first time – that shows how far Perry's moved from her Technicolor past."[11] On October 22, 2013, Perry performed "By the Grace of God" live at her iHeartRadio album release special, along with "Roar", "Unconditionally", "Dark Horse", and "This Moment".[14] Tiffany Lee of Yahoo! Music said that "Unconditionally" along with "By the Grace of God" "shone like lights through a prism in their acoustic setting."[14]

Credits and personnel[edit]

Recording
Personnel

Credits adapted from the liner notes of Prism, Capitol Records.[5]

Charts[edit]

Upon the release of Prism, "By the Grace of God" debuted at number 77 on the South Korea Gaon International Chart due to high digital downloads of over 2,104, despite not being released as a single.[15]

Chart (2013) Peak
position
South Korea (GIC)[15] 77

References[edit]

  1. ^ Vena, Jocelyn (June 29, 2012). "Katy Perry Inspired By Madonna For 'Darker' Next Album". MTV News. Viacom Media Networks. Retrieved September 19, 2013. 
  2. ^ Gallo, Phil (April 18, 2013). "Katy Perry Is Halfway There on Third Album, Talks New Songs Like 'Double Rainbow'". Billboard (Prometheus Global Media). Retrieved September 19, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b Diehl, Matt (September 27, 2013). "Katy Perry's 'PRISM': The Billboard Cover Story". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved November 1, 2013. 
  4. ^ Lipshutz, Jason (September 6, 2013). "Katy Perry's 'Prism' Album Preview: 10 Things You Need To Know". Billboard (Prometheus Global Media). Retrieved October 27, 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f Prism (inlay cover) (Media notes). Capitol Records. 2013. p. 8.  Unknown parameter |artist= ignored (|others= suggested) (help)
  6. ^ a b c d Walker, John (October 22, 2013). "MTV Mobile Blog Buzzworthy: Katy Perry's 'Prism': A Track-By-Track Review... In Cat GIFs!". MTV News. Viacom Media Networks. Retrieved November 1, 2013. 
  7. ^ Sperounes, Sandra (October 22, 2013). "Album review: New Katy Perry CD too safe". The Edmonton Journal. Postmedia Network. Retrieved November 3, 2013. 
  8. ^ a b "Katy Perry– By the Grace of God Sheet Music (Digital Download)". Musicnotes.com. Sony-ATV Music Publishing. Retrieved November 1, 2013. 
  9. ^ a b Lipshutz, Jason (October 21, 2013). "Katy Perry's 'PRISM': Track-By-Track Review". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved November 1, 2013. 
  10. ^ Stewart, Allison (October 21, 2013). "Album review: Katy Perry grows up, gets spiritual on ‘Prism’". The Washington Post. Nash Loldings LLC. Retrieved November 1, 2013. 
  11. ^ a b Clark, Betty (October 1, 2013). "Katy Perry – iTunes festival review". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. Retrieved November 1, 2013. 
  12. ^ Brown, Helen. "Katy Perry, Prism, review". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 17 October 2013. 
  13. ^ a b Boardman, Madeline (October 1, 2013). "Katy Perry's 'By The Grace Of God' Single Debuts Off Of 'Prism' At iTunes Festival". The Huffington Post. AOL. Retrieved November 3, 2013. 
  14. ^ a b Lee, Tiffany (October 22, 2013). "7 Cool Things Katy Perry Revealed at Her iHeartRadio Album Release Party". Yahoo! Music. Yahoo!. Retrieved November 3, 2013. 
  15. ^ a b "South Korea Gaon International Chart". Gaon Chart. Retrieved October 3, 2013.