Katy Perry. She’s one of the most successful artists of all time and a defining figure of the modern era of music. Her last album, 2017’s Witness, was underwhelming for a multitude of reasons. The music wasn’t bad (there are plenty of great tracks), but the abysmal success rate of its singles and the overall messiness of the entire era was disheartening. Leading up to this new single Katy released a fun new Christmas classic, “Cozy Little Christmas,” a catchy EDM track, “365 (with Zedd)”, and an even catchier Latin banger, “Con Calma (with Daddy Yankee & Snow).”
“Never Really Over,” Katy’s first official solo single since Witness’ “Hey Hey Hey,” is a stunning return to form. On this buoyant new track, Katy delivers all of the elements that made her a household name: an uplifting vocal performance, smart and universal lyricism, and bombastic chorus. The overall production of the track is markedly different from Katy’s past hits. Max Martin’s signature sound is traded for a sound that is more similar to the glittery indie-pop of Haim, Carly Rae Jepsen, or MARINA. Katy’s sound has always been pure pop, but “Never Really Over” uses skittering drums, finger snaps, and plucky synths to build up to an utterly joyful chorus. Katy delivers an anthemic vocal performance with lyrics about moving on from a past relationship. The subject matter isn’t innovative, but the sound sure is for Katy.
The strongest parts of “Never Really Over” are the excellent pre-chorus and the witty puns on “over” in the chorus. The layered vocals in the chorus are also a nice touch. On some Witness tracks, Katy sounded as if she trying to force feelings and emotions instead of just being authentic. “Never Really Over” is the most comfortable Katy has sounded on a track in a while. She’s found her footing again, and she’s here to remind us all why she is Katy Perry.