It Takes Two (Katy Perry song)

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"It Takes Two"
Song by Katy Perry from the album Prism
Recorded 2013;
Length 3:54
Label Capitol
Prism track listing
"It Takes Two"
"Choose Your Battles"

"It Takes Two" is a song recorded by American singer-songwriter Katy Perry for her fourth studio album, Prism (2013). It was written by Perry, StarGate, Benny Blanco, and Emeli Sandé, with the production being handled by StarGate and Blanco. A blues-influenced pop soul song comparative to the work of 1960's musicians Johnny Cash and Janis Joplin, it features a driving beat and symphony-like harmonies. The song contains simple and "straightforward" lyrics which speak of accepting part of the blame for a failed relationship. The song received positive reviews from music critics, who complimented its positive nature, although others found it "bland". Upon the release of Prism in South Korea, "It Takes Two" debuted at number 114 on the South Korea Gaon International Chart.

The song is part of the setlist on Perry's third worldwide tour, The Prismatic World Tour.[1]

Background and recording[edit]

Perry performing "It Takes Two" on her Prismatic World Tour

According to a July 2013 interview with Annabel Brog from Elle UK, "It Takes Two" was based on her "fear of loss" and separation from and her boyfriend John Mayer where he "pulled away". It was originally written after the pair had separated before later reconciling.[2] During an interview with MTV, Perry spoke of the song:

It's really easy when relationships end to be like 'That guy was a f---ing [sic] douchebag.' But really if you laid it down, and you saw the whole span of the relationship, you saw that you were in love, you saw the intimate moments, you saw the pain, you saw all the emotions and you have to kind of say 'Well, what responsibility can I take for myself in all of this[?]'[3]

"It Takes Two" was written by Perry along with Stargate, Benny Blanco, and Emeli Sandé. StarGate and Blanco produced the song. Serban Ghenea mixed the song, while John Hanes was the mixing engineer. All instrumentation and programming was handled by StarGate and Benny Blanco, and John Mayer played the guitar.[4] Speaking about working with Perry, Sandé said: "I've written a song for Katy Perry's album, we did a session together in New York. She was awesome — she knows what she's doing."[5]


Emeli Sandé (pictured) co-wrote "It Takes Two"

At a length of three minutes and fifty-four seconds (3:54),[6] "It Takes Two" is a pop soul ballad,[7][8] and opens with a single electric guitar played by John Mayer,[4] which is gradually incorporated into the whole song.[9] Containing elements of blues music, the song utilizes a "symphony-like" harmony which underlies the main song, which combined with the guitar and the backup vocals, creates a "compelling" melody which has been described as "beautiful" and "forceful". Musically, it has been compared to the works of 1960's rockers including Johnny Cash and Janis Joplin.[10] "It Takes Two" contains simple and "straightforward" lyrics that speak of having two sides to a failed relationship.[9] Annaliese Davis from The Daily felt the song's lyrics were directed towards Perry's ex-husband Russell Brand with lines such as: "It takes two / Two sides to every story / Not just you / I can't keep ignoring / I admit half of it / I'm not that innocent".[11]

Critical reception[edit]

Natalie Palmer of Entertainmentwise reacted positively to "It Takes Two", who praised its more positive nature compared to the other bonus tracks.[9] Calling it both "beautiful" and "forceful", reviewer Katie Weaver for Lancaster Online deemed the song reason enough to purchase the deluxe edition of the album.[10] Rob Harvilla of Spin was highly critical of the song, saying: "On sleepy bonus track "It Takes Two", seemingly a heartfelt apology to Perry's ex-husband for, oh, I don't know, maybe commissioning Empire Strikes Back-style carbonite statues of him and setting them aflame onstage at the Grammys. But that was at least memorable."[12] During his review of the album, Sam Lansky of Idolator was also negative of "It Takes Two", calling it "interminably dull".[13] Kevin Fallon of The Daily Beast called "It Takes Two" a "sweeping ballad" which allowed Perry to "show off a full-throated belt that so many of her more bubbly tracks mask".[8] Billboard reviewer Jason Lipshutz felt that the song did not sound right for Perry, saying it: "translates the soulful optimism of co-writer Emeli Sande's music into another instant of self-examination for Perry."[14]


In South Korea, upon the release of Prism, "It Takes Two" sold 1,809 copies which provided the position number 114 on the South Korea Gaon Download Chart. In the United Kingdom, the song entered the UK Singles Chart at position 180.

Chart (2013) Peak
South Korea (Gaon Download Chart)[15] 114
UK Singles Chart[16] 180

Credits and personnel[edit]

Recording places
  • Recorded at Roc the Mic Studios, New York City, New York and Westlake Studios, Los Angeles, California.
  • Mixed at MixStar Studios, Virginia Beach, Virginia.
  • Songwriting – Katy Perry, Mikkel Eriksen, Tor Erik Hermansen, Benjamin Levin
  • Production – StarGate, Benny Blanco
  • Recording engineer – Mikkel Eriksen
  • Assistant engineer – Chris Sclafani
  • Mixing – Serban Ghenea
  • Mixing engineer – John Hanes
  • Lead vocals – Katy Perry
  • Instruments and programming – StarGate, Benny Blanco
  • Additional guitar – John Mayer

Credits adapted from the liner notes of Prism, Capitol Records.[4]


  1. ^ "Katy Perry Brings Eye-Popping 'Prism' Spectacle to London". Rolling Stone. 
  2. ^ Brog, Annabel (July 2013). "Katy Perry is ELLE's September issue cover star". Elle (France: Hachette Filipacchi Médias). 
  3. ^ Vega, Jocelyn (November 19, 2013). "Was Katy Perry Tempted To Write Any 'Screw You' Anthems On Prism?". MTV. Viacom Media Networks. Retrieved April 4, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c Prism (inlay cover). Katy Perry. Capitol Records. 2013. p. 8. 
  5. ^ Lansky, Sam (September 5, 2013). "Emeli Sande Talks Writing Songs For Katy Perry & Britney Spears’ New Albums". Idolator. Buzz Media. Retrieved January 7, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Katy Perry — PRISM". iTunes Store. Apple Inc. Retrieved September 30, 2013. 
  7. ^ Kot, Greg (October 20, 2013). "Katy Perry, 'Prism' album review". Chicago Tribune. Tribune Company. Retrieved January 6, 2014. 
  8. ^ a b Fallon, Kevin (October 22, 2013). "‘Prism’ Review: Katy Perry Perfects the Pop Blockbuster". The Daily Beast. The Daily Beast Newsweek Publishing. Retrieved January 7, 2014. 
  9. ^ a b c Palmer, Natalie (October 21, 2013). "REVIEW: Katy Perry – 'Prism'". Entertainmentwise. Gigwise (Digital Giant). Retrieved January 6, 2014. 
  10. ^ a b Weaver, Katie (November 17, 2013). "With 'PRISM,' Katy Perry makes a winning transition". Lancaster Online. Steinman Enterprises. Retrieved January 9, 2013. 
  11. ^ Davis, Annaliese (October 21, 2013). "Album Review: 'Prism,' Katy Perry". The Daily. University of Washington. Retrieved January 6, 2014. 
  12. ^ Harvilla, Rob (October 22, 2013). "Katy Perry Grows Up and Bums Us Out on Her Shrewd, Tepid 'Prism'". Spin. Spin Media. Retrieved January 9, 2014. 
  13. ^ Lansky, Sam (October 22, 2013). "Katy Perry’s ‘Prism’: Album Review". Idolator. Buzz Media. Retrieved January 9, 2014. 
  14. ^ Lipshutz, Jason (October 22, 2013). "Katy Perry's 'PRISM': Track-By-Track Review". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved January 9, 2014. 
  15. ^ "South Korea Gaon Download Chart". Gaon Chart. Retrieved 20 December 2013. 
  16. ^ "CHART LOG UK: NEW ENTRIES UPDATE". Zobbel. 2 November 2013. Retrieved 18 January 2014.