E.T. (song)

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Black-and-white head and upper body side shot of a woman, with straight bangs and cat-like eye make-up, looking to her right. She holds her hands close to her face in a prayer-like manner and wears a shiny sleveless top and multiple finger rings. The word "E.T." appears centered near the bottom, with "Katy Perry" above and "Ft. Kanye West" below, all in majuscule pink dashed font.
Song by Katy Perry featuring Kanye West
from the album Teenage Dream
ReleasedFebruary 16, 2011 (2011-02-16)
Recorded2010; Conway Recording Studios, (Hollywood, California)
  • 3:26 (album version)
  • 3:51 (single version)

"E.T." is a song by American recording artist Katy Perry taken from her third studio album, Teenage Dream (2010). The single version features additional rap verses by American rapper Kanye West. Dr. Luke, Max Martin, and Ammo all co-wrote the song with Perry, and co-produced with West. "E.T." was originally released as the album's third promotional single on August 17, 2010. However, on February 16, 2011, it was released as the fourth official single from Teenage Dream. West's version was included in the 2012 re-release of Teenage Dream, Teenage Dream: The Complete Confection.

Played over a "stomp-stomp-clap" beat similar to Queen's "We Will Rock You" (1977), "E.T." is an electronic and hip hop ballad influenced by drum and bass, rave, techno, and dubstep, that tells of "falling in love with a foreigner". Extraterrestrial metaphors are used throughout the song's lyrics, and West's vocals make heavy use of Auto-Tune during his second verse. The song is set in slow tempo with 75/150 beats per minute. Critics compared the song to several artists, including Rihanna, Evanescence, t.A.T.u. and Queen.

The song peaked at number one in the United States, Canada, New Zealand and Poland as well as within the top five in Australia, Ireland and the United Kingdom and the top 20 in ten other European countries. "E.T" received mixed reviews from music critics, some critics complimented Perry's vocals throughout the song, while West's rapping style received a mixed response.

An accompanying music video was directed by Floria Sigismondi. The video shows Perry and West singing in outer space. Upon its release on MTV.com on March 31, 2011 the video received positive reviews from critics. Perry performed the song during her California Dreams Tour (2011) and on some television appearances such as American Idol. Just like previous Teenage Dream singles, "E.T." has been widely used as a cover song. On January 5, 2012, According to Nielsen Broadcast Data Systems was elected the fourth most played single on U.S. radio during 2011 with 526,000 plays.

Background and release

The official single version of "E.T." features rap verses by American rapper Kanye West who also co-produced the song.

Lukasz "Dr. Luke" Gottwald, Max Martin and Joshua "Ammo" Coleman co-wrote the song with Perry, and co-produced it with guest vocalist Kanye West. Perry started to write and record material for her third studio album Teenage Dream in October 2009.[1] In an interview with Rolling Stone, regarding then upcoming album, she stated that she doesn't want to "alienate" people with different new styles, indeed she wanted to keep her old sounds to the new tracks.[1] Perry also stated that when she was writing the songs for the album, her goal was to create "a different movie" for every song. The decision to write "E.T." came after its beats were accidentally played when Perry had a recording session together with Gottwald, Martin and Ammo. The song was originally intended for American hip hop group Three 6 Mafia.[2][3] However, after hearing it, Perry chose to work with the track.[2] In an interview with MTV she stated:

"I heard it and I always knew I wanted to write this futuristic, alienistic song, and they pulled it up and I was like, 'Wait, I can wrap my head around this. I know this seems like a long shot, but I think I have the perfect material to put on top of this sound.' And I did, and it really worked out perfectly."[2]

"Alongside the second official single "Teenage Dream", Perry released a series of promotional releases to iTunes. The album version of "E.T." was released as the third and final promotional release on August 17, 2010 on iTunes.[4] In December 2010, via her official Twitter account, Perry asked fans to help her select her next single, following the release of "Firework" (2010) as a third official single of Teenage Dream.[5] On December 13, 2010, she tweeted, "Thanks for all your great suggestions for the next single today! ... "Your voice has been heard! We're on the same page...".[5] Speculation arose that "Peacock" would be its next single. However, in early January 2011, via Facebook, she announced that "E.T." would be record's fourth single.[5][6][7] The announcement was accompanied with the single's artwork, which features Perry with "cat eye make-up, bangs, and a sequined top".[7][8] Unlike the original, the single version features rap verses by American rapper Kanye West, who also co-produced this version.[8] It was released for digital download on February 16, 2011, worldwide. "E.T." was released as a CD single on March 17, 2011 in the United Kingdom.[9] On April 12, 2011, the song was sent for airplay on US Urban radio.[10]


"E.T." is an electronic song[13] which takes influence from drum and bass, rave, techno, and dubstep.[14][15][16][17] BBC Music described the song as a "rave-influenced quasi ballad".[18] According to the digital sheet music published by Sony/ATV Music Publishing, the song is written in the key of F minor and follows a slow tempo of 76 beats per minute in common time.[19] Perry's vocal range spans from E♭4 to D♭5.[19] According to Ann Powers of the Los Angeles Times, "E.T." carries influences from Barbadian singer Rihanna and features Perry using a "hip-hop diva's stutter".[11] Matthew Perpetua of Rolling Stone felt the song was similar in sound to hard rock ballads by Evanescence.[20] The song's instrumentals have been described as "a mishmash and bleeps and blips with a driving drum track".[21] Darryl Sterdan of the QMI Agency noted the song uses the "stomp-stomp-clap" beat from Queen's "We Will Rock You" (1977),[12] while Allmusic's Stephen Thomas Erlewine noted similarities to productions held by Ryan Tedder.[22]

According to Perry, the song is about "falling in love with a foreigner".[23] James Montgomery from MTV, also noted that Perry sings about a "lover from different dimension".[13] For its single release, the song was reworked to feature two verses from Kanye West, in which he raps about "extraterrestriality".[8][24][25] "E.T." opens with the first rap verse by West containing the lines "I got a dirty mind / I got filthy ways"/ I’m trying to bathe my egg in your milky way / They callin' me an alien / A big-headed astronaut".[25][26][27] Then, using metaphors about extraterrestrials, Perry sings, "You're not like the others / Futuristic lover / Different DNA".[28] The chorus has Perry addressing her lover: "Kiss me, kiss me / Infect me with your love and / Fill me with your poison", claiming to be "ready for abduction".[29] West contributes a second verse to the track, before Perry's final refrain, with heavily auto-tuned vocals: "I know a bar out in Mars / Where they driving spaceships instead of cars".[21][28] He finishes with a reference to the fictional animated character Shrek and lyrics about "alien sex": "Imma disrobe you then imma probe you / See, I abducted you so I tell you what to do."[25][26][30] The National Post's Ben Kaplan noted West's presence on the track was similar to the work on his fourth studio album, 808s & Heartbreak (2008).[21]

Critical reception

A blonde woman dressed in black is playing a guitar.
A man dressed in a black T-shirt and trousers is performing on a microphone.
Leah Greenblatt of Entertainment Weekly compared the sound of "E.T." as a combination of the works by American rock musicians Lita Ford (left) and Trent Reznor (right).

"E.T." has received positive reviews from contemporary music critics. Leah Greenblatt of Entertainment Weekly felt that Perry shows strength on the song, comparing its sound to a combination of American rock musicians Lita Ford and Trent Reznor.[31] Kerri Mason from Billboard felt that "E.T." together with some other tracks from the albums is heavier sonically and lyrically, with a boom-boom-pow electro punch and Perry discussing more toxic relationships."[32] Even though, he stated that West's contribution on the track was "needless", Robert Copsey from Digital Spy agreed that the track "is a quirky and assured slice of state-of-the-art pop".[33] Bill Lamb from About.com praised the song and noted that the catchy chorus and drama lyrics will "please" Perry's fans. Oppose of Copsey, he observed that West's verses are "an interesting perspective turning the song into a tense duet about an intense sexual encounter".[34] Ben Kaplan from The National Post lauded the track as a "great duet", praising the vocals of both performers.[21] Speaking for West's contribution on the track Brad Wete from Entertainment Weekly noted that the song was improved from a male perspective.[35] Stephen Thomas Erlewine from Allmusic commented that Perry "replicates Ryan Tedder’s glassy robotic alienation on 'E.T.', but tellingly avoids ripping off Lady Gaga".[22]

Matthew Cole of Slant Magazine disliked the single's "inscrutability" and said that "E.T."'s backing track was reminiscent of t.A.T.u.'s "All the Things She Said" (2002).[36]Now's Jason Richards called the song "awkward" and Sputnikmusic's Rudy Clapper dismissed its attempt at a more mature sound, calling it "cheesy".[37][38] In his review of Teenage Dream, PopMatters' staff writer Steve Leftridge wrote: "Plus, songs like 'E.T.' or 'Circle the Drain' are neither strong nor edgy nor clever nor sonically interesting enough to lend any genuine credibility to Perry as a serious artist with anything to actually say."[39] Amos Barshad of New York felt West's alien metaphors went into jarring, misogynistic directions.[28] Genevieve Koski of The AV Club gave the song a C-, saying that while its lyrical content was "borderline-embarrassing", it did earn "a couple bonus points for showing a relatively darker side" of Perry, while AV Club editor Steven Hyden was more critical of the both Perry's and West's lyrics, saying that "borderline-embarrassing" was too generous and that "the whole concept of the song is so beyond either side of sanity" that it was impossible to grade.[40]

Commercial performance

One week before Teenage Dream's official release, the solo version of "E.T." was released as a promotional single and debuted on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart at number 42, selling 64,000 digital copies.[41] Following its single release featuring West, the song re-entered the Billboard Hot 100 on March 5, 2011 at number 28 with 110,000 copies being sold.[42] In its fifth week, for the issue dated April 9, 2011, "E.T." topped the chart, giving Perry her fifth and West his fourth number-one single on the Hot 100.[43] It ended the six-week run of Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" and made Teenage Dream the ninth album in history to yield four number-one singles.[44] "E.T." spent five non-consecutive weeks at number-one on the Hot 100 chart and was certified quintuple platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), denoting shipments of more than 5,000,000 digital copies.[45] It topped Billboard's Hot Digital Songs chart for seven weeks, the longest since Eminem's "Love the Way You Lie" in 2010.[46] The song was named the fourth most popular song of 2011.

It debuted the same week on the Canadian Hot 100 at number 13.[47] In Australia, the song debuted at number 12 and peaked at number five for two weeks in February 2011.[48] Since then "E.T." has been certified double platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association.[49] One week after debuting at number 17, "E.T." topped the New Zealand Singles Chart on January 31, 2011, becoming her sixth number-one in the country, and has been certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand for sales of 15,000.[50][51] As of July 20, 2011, it also became Perry's third single to be on New Zealand's Best Singles of All Time, just behind "Firework" and "California Gurls".[52] On February 26, 2011, the solo version of the song entered Billboard's Hot Dance Club Songs chart at number 36, and later topped it, becoming her sixth number-one on the chart.[53][54]

On Billboard's Mainstream Top 40 (Pop Songs), "E.T." set a record for most weekly plays in the 18-year history of the chart: for the tracking week of April 25 – May 1, 2011, Nielsen Broadcast Data Systems registered 12,330 plays over its 131 stations—an average of 94 plays per station.[55] This figure rewrote Perry's previous record held with "California Gurls" in July 2010 (12,159).[55] That record was later broken yet again by Perry, when her single "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)" registered 12,468 plays for the week dated August 13, 2011.[56] Meanwhile, on the Rhythmic Airplay Chart, she achieved her first number-one hit, a rare feat for female pop artists considering she was the third to ever do so.[57]

In other Billboard charts, "E.T." reached number two on the Adult Pop Songs chart, and the top 20 on the Adult Contemporary and Latin Pop Songs charts.[58][59] Its highest sales week according to Nielsen SoundScan came in its fourth week at the summit of the Billboard Hot 100, where it sold 344,000 copies following its American Idol performance.[60] The song sold over 300,000 digital copies in a week four times, becoming one of four songs in history to achieve this.[46] "E.T." was certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America on April 28, 2011.[61] "E.T." was the highest selling track for the first half of 2011. The song is Perry's fourth and West's first song to reach the 5 million range which, for Perry is more than any other female artist in digital history.[62][63] As of February 2014. the song has sold 5,700,000 copies in the US.[64]

The song re-entered the Canadian Hot 100 at number 18 following its single release and topped the chart in its 12th week, on May 7, 2011.[65][66] "E.T." has charted in Ireland at number five, and has become a top ten hit in Austria, Germany and Italy, a top 20 hit in Belgium (Wallonia), Denmark, France, Finland, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland, and a top 40 hit in Belgium (Flanders).[48][67][68][69] On the UK Singles Chart, the single peaked at number three in its eighth week, becoming her eighth top ten hit there.[70][71] It has since been certified silver by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) for sales of 200,000 units.[72] Elsewhere in Europe, the song charted in its solo version at number 18 on the Slovak airplay chart, 20 on the Czech airplay chart, 27 on the Dutch Top 40, and 28 on the Greek airplay chart.[73][74][75][76] As of July 2012, the song has sold over 6.4 million digital copies worldwide.[77]

Music video

Perry kisses Shaun Ross to transform him from a robotic alien being.[78]

The video was filmed in February 2011.[79] It was released on March 31, 2011, premiering on MTV.com.[80] A backstage picture of West wearing street clothes along with Perry in a pastel-colored makeup and a giant braided headpiece was shown on MTV.[8] On March 21, a teaser trailer was released; it was 19 seconds long and showed clips of an unidentified flying object.[81] Its music video was directed by Floria Sigismondi, known for her "dark, feminine" work for artists including Christina Aguilera and Marilyn Manson.[8][82] In an interview with NRJ's French radio show Le 6/9 on March 10, 2011, Perry revealed she was satisfied with her decision to collaborate with Sigismondi, after having previewed a 30-second clip.[83] During another interview she said: "I'm looking forward to making music videos on this new album. There's a story to the songs. [...] I'm really excited about ... making those music videos that are going to be larger than life."[8][81]

The video begins with the song "Where in the World Can My Lover Be?" by Midge Williams & Her Jazz Jesters playing in the background. As the music begins, West is shown in a Sputnik like spacecraft revealing pictures before zooming out of the craft.[84] In the video, Perry, as an alien, drifts through outer space while slowly evolving into a humanoid appearance before landing on an abandoned Earth covered with litter.[78] Clips are interspersed of large felids hunting game.[85] She comes across a broken robot (resembling a spaceman), which upon her kiss turns into a naked male, played by Shaun Ross.[78][86] It is eventually revealed that Perry's legs are in fact those of a gazelle.[87] Meanwhile, West is featured in the video floating in a travelling spacecraft.[88][89] The video also alludes to a presumable future, as Perry finds a box containing a skeleton of a Pigeon (a species said to have gone extinct in 2030) and a pair of Vogue sunglasses, which she later wears.

Throughout the video, Perry wears heavy cosmetics and extravagant outfits,[90] including blue and pink make-up, cat- and reptile-like eyes, and Medusa-esque braids.[91][92][93] New York's Willa Paskin compared her looks to "detailed, outlandish, [and] semi-gorgeous rainbow-kabuki".[87] She has also received comparisons to Ziggy Stardust, the alter ego of English musician David Bowie, and fictional characters Lara Croft, Padmé Amidala, the aliens from Battlefield Earth, and Jadzia Dax.[85][91][94][95] the video itself has been described as "a sequel to Avatar or a Katy Perry video game".[20] In June 2011, Fuse ranked the video at number 96 on the top 100 sexiest videos of all time.[96] At the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards, Perry's video for "E.T." was nominated in five categories,[97] winning awards for Best Collaboration and Best Special Effects.[98]

Live performances and cover versions

Perry performing "E.T." in Budapest, Hungary in October 2010.

Perry has performed "E.T." at several venues, including as a bonus song for her Walmart Soundcheck set, and at Madison Square Garden in Manhattan on December 10, 2010 for Z100's Jingle Ball.[99][100] The song has also been included on the set list of the California Dreams Tour, Perry's second concert tour.[101] The song was released as a free track on Katy Perry Revenge 2, a game for the iOS application Tap Tap.[102] A lyrics video for the single was posted on Perry's website on March 16, 2011.[103] After playing "We Will Rock You", West performed "E.T." without Perry at the 2011 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.[104] Perry performed the single with West for the first time on the tenth season of American Idol on April 21, 2011. Carried by background dancers, she wore a flickering outfit and was joined by West, who was previously unannounced.[105]

Like other singles from Teenage Dream, "E.T." has been covered by a number of other artists and celebrities. An acoustic version was performed by VersaEmerge in May 2011 at the The Fueled By Ramen Studios.[106] One month later, celebrity personality members of the Kardashian and Jenner family posted a video of themselves covering "E.T." while on a Mexico vacation. A journalist for the Huffington Post called their cover "actually pretty awesome".[107] That same month, Wynter Gordon sang the song on Australia's Dancing with the Stars; she instead performed "E.T." as a slow love ballad. A surprised Idolator writer said Gordon turned in "gravity-defying vocals that probably surpass those on the original."[108] On June 27, 2011, the video of a stripped-down cover of the song by the American pop punk/alternative rock band Yellowcard was featured in Billboard's Mashup Mondays series.[109] In July, a girl-group called Vida put what The Sun called a "fun twist" into their own cover of Perry's song.[110] On September 26, 2011, in Season 3 of the NBC reality series The Sing-Off, the five-person a cappella group and eventual winner Pentatonix performed a cover version of the song. On The X Factor, Amelia Lily sang the song in judges houses, and group Little Mix (formerly Rhythmix) performed the song during Halloween Fright Night. On November 12, 2011 West performed the mashed "E.T." with "We Will Rock You" during the SWU Music & Arts Festival 2011. On February 12, 2012, Perry performed "E.T." along with "Part of Me" at 54th Grammy Awards.

Track listings and formats

Credits and personnel

Credits adapted from Teenage Dream album liner notes.[29]



Country Provider Certification
Australia ARIA 3× Platinum[49]
Austria IFPI Gold[150]
Canada CRIA 4× Platinum[151]
Denmark IFPI Gold[152]
Germany BVMI Gold[153]
Italy FIMI Platinum[154]
Mexico AMPROFON Gold[155]
New Zealand RIANZ Platinum[51]
United Kingdom BPI Gold[72]
United States RIAA 5× Platinum[61]

Release history

Promotional release

List of release dates by region, including format details, and record label
Region Date Format Version Label
United States[4] August 17, 2010 Promotional single – digital download Album Version Capitol Records

Single release

List of release dates by region, including format details, and record label
Region Date Format Version Label
Australia[156] January 10, 2011 Contemporary Hit Radio Album Version Capitol Records
Worldwide[157][158][159] February 16, 2011 Digital download Remix Version
United States[160] March 1, 2011 Mainstream and rhythmic radio
Worldwide[161][162][163] March 4, 2011 Remix EP – digital download
United States[111] March 8, 2011
United Kingdom[164] March 14, 2011
United Kingdom[165] March 17, 2011 CD single
Germany March 18, 2011 CD single[166]
Remix EP – digital download[113]
Switzerland Remix EP[167]
United States April 12, 2011 Urban,[10] Urban AC,[168] AC,[169] and Hot AC radio[170]

See also


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External links

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