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Walking on Air (Katy Perry song)

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"Walking on Air"
Promotional single by Katy Perry
from the album Prism
ReleasedSeptember 30, 2013
FormatDigital download
GenreDeep house
  • Åhlund
  • Max Martin

"Walking on Air" is a song recorded by American singer Katy Perry for her fourth studio album, Prism (2013), included as its fourth track. It was released to digital retailers on September 30, 2013, by Capitol Records, as the record's second promotional single, following the release of "Dark Horse". The song was part of a poll promoted by Pepsi, along with "Dark Horse", where fans could vote for which song they wanted to become the first promotional single from Prism. Inspired by CeCe Peniston and Crystal Waters, "Walking on Air" is a deep house song influenced by 1990s Eurodance.

Music critics felt "Walking on Air" was a catchy track, but were ambivalent towards its musical composition. The track entered multiple charts, reaching the top 20 in Canada, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, and Spain as well as the top 30 in Belgium and France. Perry promoted "Walking on Air" with several live performances, including at the 2013 iTunes Festival and Saturday Night Live.

Production and release[edit]

"Walking on Air" was produced and programmed by Swedish record producers Klas Åhlund and Max Martin. It was recorded and engineered at Apmamman and MXM Studios, located in Stockholm, Sweden, and Conway Recording Studios in Hollywood. It was engineered by Michael Illbert, Peter Carlsson, and Sam Holland, and assisted by Cory Bice. Serban Ghenea later mixed the song at MixStar Studios, in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Background vocals were provided by Sabina Ddumba and the Tensta Gospel Choir.[1]

In a press release on August 20, 2013, PepsiCo announced a partnership with Perry to promote her fourth studio album Prism: the company announced a social "tweet-to-unlock" voting program, where fans could unlock song titles and their respective lyrics, by tweeting the hashtag #KATYNOW. The chosen tracks for the campaign were "Walking on Air" and "Dark Horse". Once tweets voting for each song reached a certain number, their respective samples were unlocked and fans could start to vote for which one they wanted to have an early release on digital retailers.[2] The winner was "Dark Horse", which was released on September 17, 2013 on the iTunes Store.[3] However, after the release of the aforementioned song, the iTunes release of "Walking on Air" was announced, slated for September 30.[4]


Composed in the key of F♯ minor, "Walking on Air" is a deep house song[6] set in a 4/4 time signature at a moderately fast tempo of 128 beats per minute. The melody spans the tonal range of E3 to E5, while the music follows the chord progression of F♯m–E–C♯m–D.[7] Throughout the song, various elements of 90s Eurodance and disco music can be heard.[8] The track opens with Perry singing in her lower register over staccato synths until the song's "propulsive" beat begins.[9] The singer has cited CeCe Peniston's "Finally" and Crystal Waters' "100% Pure Love" as inspirations for the sound she was aiming for with this song.[10] Perry's vocals near the end of "Walking on Air" were also compared to those of Christina Aguilera.[11]

Written by Perry, Klas Åhlund, Max Martin, Adam Baptiste, and Caméla Leierth, "Walking on Air" discusses a love "so strong that even heaven is jealous".[11] Gil Kaufman from MTV commented on the song's composition: "Between her wailing diva vocals, a gospel choir that kicks in during the final minute and the driving beat, Perry has captured a unique sound that both recalls the classic 1970s disco era as well as the EDM thump of today's clubs."[9] HitFix writer Melinda Newman opined that the song was "redolent of '90s dance thumpers and is light as cotton candy and just as enjoyable", adding that it would "make you long for C+C Music Factory".[11] The song was also described as evoking the music of Swedish singer Robyn, an artist of whom Perry is a fan.[12]

Critical reception[edit]

Sal Cinquemani from Slant Magazine was very positive of the song: he described it as "surprisingly soulful, throwback" to 1990s deep house, although he noted that Åhlund decided to give Perry a different sound from the Euro electro-pop he had produced for Body Talk (2010).[13] Greg Kot from Chicago Tribune deemed the single a "catchy pop tune",[14] while Randall Roberts from the Los Angeles Times wrote that the song's "euphoria" was "infectious",[15] and Rob Harvilla from Spin classified it as "delicious".[16] Also, Elysa Gardner from USA Today recommended readers to download "Walking on Air".[17]

Other reviews were mixed. Writing for The Guardian, Alexis Petridis criticized Prism for not having anything "sonically adventurous", noting that the album mainly had 1990s pop-house in its songs, giving the example of the "jangling piano riff" present on "Walking on Air", but still found those melodies to be stronger than the ones found on Jessie J's second studio album Alive (2013).[18] In a mixed to positive review of the song, Will Hermes from Rolling Stone described the song as "frothy".[19] Marah Eakin from The A.V. Club commented that "when Perry does stretch [.....] she tends to falter", and mentioned "Walking on Air" and "Dark Horse" as examples.[20] Consequence of Sound's Chris Bosman described the song as a "vanilla re-interpretation of Hercules and Love Affair".[21]

Helen Brown from The Daily Telegraph classified "Walking on Air" as a "forgettable bit of Nineties rave nostalgia",[22] while James Reed from The Boston Globe deemed it "buoyant",[23] and ABC News music writer Mesfin Fekadu called it "irresistible".[24] Kyle Anderson from Entertainment Weekly described the track as a "David Guetta-esque blast of dancefloor adrenaline".[25] Sam Lansky from website Idolator wrote that the song was "pleasurable",[26] while Trent Wolbe from The Verge said it was a "triumphant ode" to various artists from the 1990s.[27]

Chart performance[edit]

On the week ending October 7, 2013, "Walking on Air" debuted at number 12 on the New Zealand Singles Chart.[28] In Australia, the song charted on the ARIA Digital Track Chart at number 18.[29] On the week ending October 19, 2013, "Walking on Air" debuted at number 34 on the Billboard Hot 100 and debuted at number eight on Billboard Hot Digital Songs with 113,000 downloads.[30] As of November 2013, the song has sold a total of 150,000 copies in the United States.[31] In Italy, the single debuted at 20.[32]

Live performances[edit]

Perry performing "Walking on Air" on her Prismatic World Tour.

On September 30, 2013, Perry performed "Walking on Air" during her headlining set of the 2013 iTunes Festival at the Roundhouse. For the performance, she wore a black leather corset, a tartan miniskirt and fishnet tights, all part of a "racy" outfit.[33] On October 12, 2013, the singer performed the song again on Saturday Night Live, where she was the musical guest of the episode. She wore a "'90s schoolgirl outfit" composed of a plaid skirt, knee socks and a white crop top. Kelci Shipley from MTV wrote that Perry "caught a case of retro fever for her performance of 'Walking on Air'".[34] On her 29th birthday, October 25, 2013, Perry performed the song at Lakewood High School in Lakewood, Colorado.[35] On May 25, 2014, she performed it in Glasgow at Radio 1's Big Weekend.[citation needed]

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from Prism liner notes.[1]

Recording locations



Chart (2013) Peak
Australia (ARIA Digital Track Chart)[29] 18
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[36] 35
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[37] 44
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia)[38] 30
Belgium (Ultratop Wallonia Dance)[38] 26
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[39] 12
Denmark (Tracklisten)[40] 35
Europe (Euro Digital Songs)[41] 16
France (SNEP)[42] 25
Ireland (IRMA)[43] 13
Italy (FIMI)[44] 20
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[45] 47
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[46] 12
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[47] 15
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[48] 80
US Billboard Hot 100[49] 34

Release history[edit]

Country Date Format Label
Worldwide[50][51] September 30, 2013 Digital download Capitol


  1. ^ a b c Prism (Media notes). Katy Perry. United States: Capitol Records. 2013.
  2. ^ "Pepsi And MTV Team Up With Global Superstar Katy Perry For Special Finale Performance From Undisclosed Location in Brooklyn During The 2013 'MTV Video Music Awards'". PepsiCo. August 20, 2013. Retrieved December 17, 2013.
  3. ^ Lee, Christina (August 26, 2013). "Katy Perry Will Drop "Dark Horse" (Featuring Juicy J) As Her Next 'Prism' Single". Idolator. Retrieved January 10, 2014.
  4. ^ Wass, Mike (September 17, 2013). "Katy Perry Will Release "Walking on Air" As A Promo Single on September 30". Idolator. Retrieved December 17, 2013.
  5. ^ Lindner, Emilee (August 22, 2013). "Katy Perry's New Lyrics: What We Learned!". MTV. Retrieved December 17, 2013.
  6. ^ a b Lansky, Sam (September 30, 2013). "Katy Perry Goes Deep House in New 'Prism' Track "Walking on Air"". Idolator. Retrieved September 23, 2013.
  7. ^ "Katy Perry "Walking on Air" Sheet Music". MusicNotes. Kobalt Music Publishing America, Inc. Retrieved December 17, 2013.
  8. ^ Hampp, Andrew (September 30, 2013). "Katy Perry, 'Prism': Fall Music Preview 2013". Billboard. Retrieved October 1, 2013.
  9. ^ a b Kaufman, Gil (September 30, 2013). "Katy Perry Makes 'Angels Cry' On New 'Prism' Track". MTV News. Retrieved September 23, 2013.
  10. ^ Trust, Gary (September 9, 2013). "Katy Perry's Future 'Prism' Hits: Industry Picks". Billboard. Retrieved December 17, 2013.
  11. ^ a b c Newman, Melinda (September 30, 2013). "Katy Perrys new dance track, Walking on Air will have you floating". HitFix. Retrieved October 6, 2013.
  12. ^ Lipshutz, Jason (September 6, 2013). "Katy Perry's 'Prism' Album Preview: 10 Things You Need to Know". Billboard. Retrieved December 17, 2013.
  13. ^ Cinquemani, Sal (October 17, 2013). "Katy Perry: Prism". Slant Magazine. Retrieved December 17, 2013.
  14. ^ Kot, Greg (October 20, 2013). "Katy Perry, 'Prism' album review". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved December 17, 2013.
  15. ^ Roberts, Randall (October 22, 2013). "Review: Hits pack Katy Perry's 'Prism'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 17, 2013.
  16. ^ Harvilla, Rob (October 22, 2013). "Katy Perry Grows Up and Bums Us Out on Her Shrewd, Tepid 'Prism'". Spin. Retrieved December 17, 2013.
  17. ^ Gardner, Elysa (October 21, 2013). "Review: Katy Perry's 'Prism' honors spirit and flesh". USA Today. Retrieved December 17, 2013.
  18. ^ Petridis, Alexis (October 17, 2013). "Katy Perry: Prism – review". The Guardian. Retrieved December 17, 2013.
  19. ^ Hermes, Will (October 10, 2013). "Katy Perry, Walking on Air". Rolling Stone. Retrieved December 17, 2013.
  20. ^ Eakin, Marah (October 22, 2013). "Katy Perry: Prism". The A.V. Club. Retrieved January 5, 2014.
  21. ^ Bosman, Chris (October 21, 2013). "Album Review: Katy Perry – Prism". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved January 5, 2014.
  22. ^ Brown, Helen (October 17, 2013). "Katy Perry, Prism, review". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved January 5, 2014.
  23. ^ Reed, James (October 21, 2013). "Perry shows many colors on 'Prism'". The Boston Globe. Retrieved January 5, 2014.
  24. ^ Fekadu, Mesfin (October 21, 2013). "Music Review: Katy Perry Plays It Safe on 'Prism'". ABC News. Retrieved January 5, 2014.
  25. ^ Anderson, Kyle (September 30, 2013). "Katy Perry's latest 'Prism' track is club thumper 'Walking on Air': Hear it here". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved January 5, 2014.
  26. ^ Lansky, Sam (October 22, 2013). "Katy Perry's 'Prism': Album Review". Idolator. Retrieved January 5, 2014.
  27. ^ "Get real: Katy Perry lets go of the teenage dream with 'Prism'". The Verge. October 23, 2013. Retrieved January 5, 2014.
  28. ^ "NZ Chart: Week of October 7, 2013". Hung Medien. Retrieved October 3, 2013.
  29. ^ a b "ARIA Digital Tracks Chart". ARIA Charts. October 7, 2013. Retrieved October 7, 2013.
  30. ^ Trust, Gary (October 10, 2013). "Lorde's 'Royals' Remains Atop Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved October 10, 2013.
  31. ^ Trust, Gary (December 11, 2013). "Katy Perry Rides in on A 'Dark Horse,' Her Aptly Titled, Unexpected Hit". Billboard. Retrieved December 12, 2013.
  32. ^ "Classifica settimanale WK 40 (dal 2013-09-30 al 2013-10-06)". Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. December 11, 2013. Retrieved March 10, 2018.
  33. ^ Chester, Jason (September 30, 2013). "Katy Perry wears tartan mini-skirt and fishnets as she closes iTunes Festival". Daily Mail Online. Retrieved December 17, 2013.
  34. ^ Shipley, Kelci (October 13, 2013). "Katy Perry Walks on Air For 'Saturday Night Live' Performance: Watch!". MTV. Retrieved December 12, 2013.
  35. ^ Sher, Lauren (October 25, 2013). "Katy Perry Celebrates 29th Birthday With Special 'Roar' Concert at Colo. High School". ABC News. Retrieved December 17, 2013.
  36. ^ " – Katy Perry – Walking on Air" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved January 10, 2014.
  37. ^ " – Katy Perry – Walking on Air" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved January 10, 2014.
  38. ^ a b " – Katy Perry – Walking on Air" (in French). Ultratop 50. Retrieved January 10, 2014.
  39. ^ "Katy Perry Chart History (Canadian Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved January 10, 2014.
  40. ^ " – Katy Perry – Walking on Air". Tracklisten. Retrieved January 10, 2014.
  41. ^ "Katy Perry – Chart history" Billboard Euro Digital Songs for Katy Perry. Retrieved April 08, 2014.
  42. ^ " – Katy Perry – Walking on Air" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved October 9, 2013.
  43. ^ "Chart Track: Week 41, 2013". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved January 10, 2014.
  44. ^ " – Katy Perry – Walking on Air". Top Digital Download. Retrieved January 10, 2014.
  45. ^ " – Katy Perry – Walking on Air" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved January 10, 2014.
  46. ^ " – Katy Perry – Walking on Air". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved January 10, 2014.
  47. ^ " – Katy Perry – Walking on Air" Canciones Top 50. Retrieved January 10, 2014.
  48. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved January 10, 2014.
  49. ^ "Katy Perry Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved October 18, 2013.
  50. ^ Wass, Mike (September 18, 2013). "Katy Perry Will Release "Walking on Air" As A Promo Single on September 30". Idolator. Retrieved October 4, 2013.
  51. ^ Corner, Lewis (September 19, 2013). "Katy Perry confirms 'Walking on Air' release: "Mark your calendars"". Digital Spy. Retrieved October 5, 2013.

External links[edit]