Wide Awake (Katy Perry song)

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"Wide Awake"
Single by Katy Perry
from the album Teenage Dream: The Complete Confection
Released May 22, 2012
Format
Recorded 2012 at Nightbird Recording Studios (Los Angeles, California)
Genre Dance-pop
Length 3:41
Label Capitol
Writer(s)
Producer(s)
Katy Perry singles chronology
"Part of Me"
(2012)
"Wide Awake"
(2012)
"Roar"
(2013)

"Wide Awake" is a song by American singer Katy Perry from Teenage Dream: The Complete Confection. Written by Perry, Dr. Luke, Max Martin, Cirkut, and Bonnie McKee, and produced by Luke and Cirkut, it was specifically written for Perry's autobiographical film Katy Perry: Part of Me. It was serviced to contemporary hit radio stations on May 22, 2012 by Capitol as the second and final single from Teenage Dream: The Complete Confection. A power ballad, "Wide Awake" is styled in electronic and dance-pop, and is lyrically reminiscent of the reality of a break up and moving forward.

Upon the release of Teenage Dream: The Complete Confection, "Wide Awake" garnered mostly favorable critiques from music journalists, who commended its production. The single became another commercial success for Perry, peaking atop the Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs and Pop Songs charts. It peaked at the runner-up position of that magazine's Hot 100 chart, becoming Perry's first song to do so. Internationally, it mostly peaked inside the top 10, like Australia, United Kingdom, and Mexico. The single's music video was directed by Lance Drake, and featured a fairy tale-like story, starring Perry and a child version of her. The video also makes references from Perry's Teenage Dream singles and the previous Complete Confection single "Part of Me".

Background and release[edit]

This song in particular is a dose of reality. It’s kind of like coming down from a high. You’ve been on cloud nine for so long, and it can’t always be so sweet and sometimes you need to realize that, and you have to pick yourself up and move forward and face the facts of life and know that this is just a lesson you learn and you’re stronger because of it

— Perry on the theme of "Wide Awake" following its release.[1]

Perry co-wrote "Wide Awake" with Bonnie McKee, Max Martin, Cirkut, and Dr. Luke, while production was handled by Cirkut and Luke.[2] The production coordination was helmed by Irene Richter and Katie Mitzell. Recorded at Nightbird Recording Studios in West Hollywood, California, it was engineered by Clint Gibbs, who was assisted by Angelo Caputo, and John Hanes, and was mixed by Serban Ghenea.[2]

According to Perry herself, "Wide Awake" was inspired by "major life changes" in Perry's life, most notably her divorce from actor and comedian Russell Brand. In an interview with MTV News, Perry revealed, “Well, this song, I have a lot of different emotions and feelings in all of my songs. This song in particular is a dose of reality. It’s kind of like coming down from a high. You’ve been on cloud nine for so long, and it can’t always be so sweet and sometimes you need to realize that, and you have to pick yourself up and move forward and face the facts of life and know that this is just a lesson you learn and you’re stronger because of it.”[1] McKee opined that the song represented Perry's departure from her previous releases.[3]

"Wide Awake" impacted US contemporary hit radio on May 22, 2012 through Capitol Records,[4] in support of Perry's autobiographical film Katy Perry: Part of Me.[5] The single's cover artwork was released on the same day via Perry's Twitter account,[6] featuring Perry with deep purple hair and multicolored lettering.[5]

Composition[edit]

A 25 second sample of the chorus of "Wide Awake"

Problems playing this file? See media help.

"Wide Awake" is a midtempo dance-pop ballad.[7] Written in the key of F major, the song has a metronome of 156 beats per minute. Perry's vocals on the song span from the low-note of C4 to the high-note of D5.[8]

"Wide Awake" is lyrically about the reality of a break up and moving on, which many have believed to have been written about Perry's ex-husband, Russell Brand, since it was written and recorded after the divorce.[9] Byron Flitsch from MTV stated that the downtempo melody of the song "highlights the song's introspective lyrics".[10] Robbie Daw of Idolator described the song's lyrics as "universally relatable".[11] A Christian influence is also prominent on "Wide Awake", which references the biblical story of Daniel in the lion's den and the concept of being born-again.[12]

Critical reception[edit]

Jody Rosen from Rolling Stone awarded "Wide Awake" three and a half stars out of five. He praised the song's composition, provided by Dr. Luke, Max Martin, and Bonnie McKee, and also felt it was, musically, a more comfortable side for Perry than "Part of Me".[13] Robert Copsey from Digital Spy commented that the song sees Perry in "reflective mode", and gave it four stars out of five.[14]

However, in an album review for Teenage Dream: The Complete Confection, Melissa Maerz from Entertainment Weekly was more critical of the song, deeming it a "weepie" and a "kind of bummer", along with "Part of Me".[15] In their list of "The 10 Best Guilty Pleasure Songs of 2012", Ernest Baker and Lauren Nostro from Complex listed "Wide Awake" at number 8, describing its beat as "sparse and contemplative", while describing it as Perry's 808s & Heartbreak in "one succinct take".[16]

Music video[edit]

Background[edit]

In March 2012, during an interview with MTV, Perry stated: "I know exactly what that music video is. I know exactly who is directing it. I know the art direction, the people, the narrative, and I had that idea while I was writing the song".[17] Filming of the official 3D music video for "Wide Awake" began on April 30, 2012 and ended on May 2, 2012.[18][19] The music video was directed by Tony T. Datis and will be used as a tie-in promotion for her 2012 3D autobiographical documentary film, Katy Perry: Part of Me, as part of her deal with Pepsi.[20][21]

On June 12, 2012, an official trailer directed by Lance Drake,[22] was released on Perry's VEVO channel. It started with a girl flipping through a book which displays flashbacks of the Teenage Dream era, describing each of the singles as a 'chapter', with Wide Awake being 'the final chapter'. It also unveiled that there will be a fairytale storyline, with 'a giant labyrinth, a poisoned strawberry, a curious cat, prince charming, and a little girl'. A second preview aired on June 13, 2012 during the season finale of the program Randy Jackson Presents: America's Best Dance Crew.[23]

Synopsis[edit]

Perry as she explores a crepuscular labyrinth with a lantern in the music video for "Wide Awake".

The video starts with Perry shooting the ending scene for the "California Gurls" video, receiving applause for it and going to her dressing room. She then takes off her wig and bow headband and looks into the mirror, roots start to grow and expand in the dressing room, changing into a dark, vine-covered setting. The camera pans to a different, darker Perry wearing a dark violet dress, a black cloak and violet hair as she sings. She proceeds to explore a crepuscular labyrinth with a lantern. The camera shows a scene of a dark hill with clouds swirling around it, while Perry is seen eating a strawberry (a reference to her first album One of the Boys), and the walls close in on her. Perry pushes the labyrinth, as a firework shoots from her chest into the dark sky (a reference to "Firework"), the scene hints that no matter what she struggles through, she always keeps that "spark" inside that pushes her forward. Then a close-up face shot shows Perry with perhaps alien-like eyes (a possible reference to "E.T."). In the following scene, the walls open up to reveal a little girl in a pink cardigan, a blue collared floral dress, and a pink ribbon in her hair. Perry approaches the little girl, their hands touch, and a glow surrounds them magically, with the "young Katy" and the "old Katy" coming face to face. (A reference to "The One That Got Away" with the meeting between the two Katys.)

As they walk into a hall of mirrors to a colossal mirror in the end, Perry is now wearing a cream-colored dress with a leafy chestpiece. The little girl does not have a reflection in the mirror, while Perry does. When Perry reaches the giant mirror, she sees undead evil paparazzi taking pictures (one of whom is Freddy Krueger), trying to capture her fall. She attempts to break the mirror while the little girl sees the crumbling of the floor and tries to warn her, but to no avail. Perry finally shatters the mirror and the shards of the glass become butterflies. The little girl is later seen pushing a wheelchair in which Perry sits in a long, blue, floral kimono-style hospital gown, trembling with the poisoned strawberry in one hand. In the hallway, they meet two minotaur guards who block their way. The little girl furiously goes up to them and stomps her foot (meaning that when Perry remembers her innocent dream, she stays true to herself, and fights to keep moving forward). Magical waves exude from her which send the minotaurs flying and cures Perry. Perry gets up from the wheelchair, takes off the gown revealing a graying dress, and grabs the little girl's hand, as they run down the hallway to the exit.

The doors open to reveal a beautiful labyrinth full of colorful flora (unlike the earlier maze with centipedes and cold stones). Perry is now wearing a cream Greek dress covered with strings of pink and yellow flowers and green leaves and has a pink, blue, and orange butterfly in her hair. A cat made of grass stares curiously at the girls with psychedelic, swirly eyes. A "Prince Charming" appears riding a unicorn, and flatters Perry but crosses his fingers behind his back, signaling that he is untrustworthy. When the little girls sees this, she narrows her eyes at him. Perry tricks him by pretending to return his affection and proceeds to punch him so hard that he flies through the fence (reference to "Part of Me"), with Perry combating a man who pretends to love her. Perry's attack against the man is much to the surprise of the little girl. Perry and the girl eventually find the exit, which was the heart-shaped hole made by the prince flying through it when Perry hit him. Both girls exchange high-fives on the way out, and the girl changes back to her original dress. They hug each other before the little girl places something in Perry's closed fist. The little girl is now identified as Katheryn (the younger Perry) by the license plate on her pink bike (a reference of pink bike from "Hot n Cold"); she walks away into a neighborhood (similar to the one in "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)"). Perry returns to her dressing room, now wearing another outfit, this time recognized as the peppermint dress from her California Dreams Tour. She opens her fist, revealing a butterfly that flies away and sparkles as it leaves. The camera pans to a stage where Perry stands on a rising platform, and sings the beginning bars of "Teenage Dream".[24][25][26]

Release and reception[edit]

The video was supposed to have its world premiere on June 19, 2012. However, the video was unexpectedly uploaded by EMI to the Czech website mixer.cz.[27] one day earlier. Due to this, it was announced that the June 19 premiere was being scrapped and that the release was pushed up to June 18, 2012 at 7:53 p.m. ET on MTV as part of "MTV First: Katy Perry".[28] After the premiere, an exclusive 30-minute interview with Perry will take place on MTV.com.[23] The worldwide premiere will reach more than 600 million households around the world via MTV’s global network of more than 60 channels, as well as over 300 digital media properties in more than 150 territories. Fans around the world will also be able to stream the video online at http://katyperry.mtv.com. The music video will also be shown on MTV’s sibling networks VH1, Logo and Teen Nick and debut on MTV.com, VH1.com and LOGOtv.com. In addition, the video will go into rotation immediately on mtvU, MTV Hits and AMTV the following morning.[29] Perry stated in an interview that the music video is symbolic of her life, where various scenes in the video are redolent of her rise to stardom, personal struggles, love and marriage.[30] Perry received 3 nominations for this Video, which included Video of the Year in the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards. She took home the "moon man" for Best Art Direction at the awards on September 6, 2012.

The music video was met with acclaim from most critics, with a number of them deeming it the best video to date from Perry.[31] E! Online opined in a Twitter status that they love the video and compared it to Alice In Wonderland.[32] Rolling Stone gave the clip a positive review, praising its introspective nature, saying that 'Though the clip recalls familiar looks, the video puts a new spin on it all, recasting every colorful look with a melancholy tone and a darker palette.'[33] Hollywoodlife felt that the video is inspiring, while calling Perry a symbol of strength.[34] Entertainment Weekly also credited the fantastical, whimsical vibe of the visual as Perry teams up with her younger self.[33]

A "Behind the Scenes" video was released on August 22, 2012 on MTV and Vevo.

Lyric video[edit]

A lyric video of the track was released on May 20, 2012, when Perry was set to premiere the song at the 2012 Billboard Music Awards. The video implemented the use of the Facebook timeline and displayed a range of posts about the release of the album Teenage Dream, the seven singles from "California Gurls" to "Part of Me", and the various achievements for the singles and the album.[35] The lyric video received positive reviews from critics with many praising Perry's different approach to lyric videos on YouTube. Contessa Gayles from AOL Music commented that the video "is practically a music video in itself".[36] Jenna Rubenstein from MTV Buzzworthty stated, "it's a clever and emotional way to recall her past successes and offer fans some closure on this chapter of the Katy Perry journey."[37]

Commercial performance[edit]

Upon the release of Teenage Dream: The Complete Confection, "Wide Awake" made its first appearance on the U.S. Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart at number 19 based on digital sales alone. After Perry's performance on the 2012 Billboard Music Awards, it debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 at number 35 as the second highest debut of the week, behind Philip Philips' "Home".[38] The same week, the song debuted on multiple Billboard component charts - at number 29 on the Pop Songs and 35 on the Adult Pop Songs charts.[39] For the chart issue dated June 4, 2012, "Wide Awake" debuted at number 50 on the Dance/Club Play Songs chart as well as moving 5 spots on the Pop songs chart to number 20. The song reached the summit on the week of August 4, 2012.[40] On June 13, 2012, the single moved ten positions to nine on the Billboard Hot 100, and has sold 402,000 downloads.[41] The following week, the single reached number 4, and on the chart dated August 11, 2012, it peaked at number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, making the song Perry's eighth consecutive single to reach the top 3 of the chart since "California Gurls", as well as her first song to peak in the runner-up position. It was kept off the top spot by Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe". On the week August 4, 2012, the song topped the Hot Dance Club Songs chart, making her tenth consecutive number-one on the chart since 2009's "Waking Up in Vegas", extending her own record.[42] On the Pop Songs chart, it is her ninth number-one single tied with Rihanna as artists with most number one on chart. The song has sold over 3,074,841 downloads in the US as of 2013.[43]

In Australia, the song debuted at number 26 on the Australian Singles Chart, and peaked at number 4, position it stayed in for three weeks.[44] In New Zealand, the song debuted at number 32, and peaked at number 1 on July 1, 2012, making it Perry's seventh single from the album Teenage Dream to peak inside the top ten, and her sixth song from the Teenage Dream era to take out the number one spot.[45] The song was then certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand (RIANZ). The song is the eighth song from Teenage Dream to enter the top ten, and the ninth consecutive top ten single since "Waking Up in Vegas" and its eleventh top ten overall. The song makes Perry the female artist with the most number ones on New Zealand (eight), passing the previous record of Mariah Carey with seven number 1 singles. In Canada, the song peaked at number 1, becoming her eighth single to do so. The song became the 21st best selling single in New Zealand of 2012.[46] In the United Kingdom, the song debuted at number 69 on the UK Singles Chart, due to strong downloads in April 2012. The song then re-entered at number 74 in May 2012. It has currently peaked at number 9, selling 24,545 copies in that country.[47] In Ireland, the song launched at number 30 and is currently peaking at number 6.[48]

Live performances and cover versions[edit]

Perry (pictured) performing "Wide Awake".

Perry debuted the song in an acrobatic fashion for the first time during the 2012 Billboard Music Awards on May 20, 2012, where she floated over the stage in a white ribbon swing keeping her suspended in the air while several background dancers performed with aerial silk.[49] On June 17, 2012, Perry performed "Wide Awake" at 2012 MuchMusic Video Awards, in which she stood on a raised platform, beginning the song as a cocoon and turned into a butterfly when she sang the last chorus.[50] On June 26, Katy Perry performed "Wide Awake" on Jimmy Kimmel Live!. Instead of taking the Kimmel stage, she performed a medley of her hits including "Wide Awake" into her Part of Me premiere in Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles. For President Barack Obama's 2012 presidential candidacy, Perry performed several of her hit songs dressed as a ballot, including "Teenage Dream", "Firework", and "Wide Awake".[51][52] Expressing solidarity for his campaign, the box next to Obama's name was shaded.[51][52]

American singer-songwriter Kelly Clarkson played an acoustic rendition of "Wide Awake" at a concert in Concord, California which was held on July 25, 2013 as part of the singer's 2012 Summer Tour. Throughout her performance, she included "delicate" falsettos and "signature riffs".[53] A cover version of "Wide Awake" is on the track listing for the compilation album Kidz Bop 23 (2013) by Kidz Bop.[54] The song was also covered by Jake Puckerman (Jacob Artist), Kitty Wilde (Becca Tobin), Tina Cohen-Chang (Jenna Ushkowitz), and Wade "Unique" Adams (Alex Newell) in the 2013 Glee episode "A Katy or a Gaga".[55]

Credits and personnel[edit]

Recording places
  • Recorded at Nightbird Recording Studios (West Hollywood, California)
  • Mixed at MixStar Studios (Virginia Beach, California)
Personnel

Charts and certifications[edit]

Release history[edit]

Country Date Format
United States[102] May 22, 2012 Mainstream radio

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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