She may not have been dominating the charts in the way that Billie Eilish and Ariana Grande were, but 2019 was a great musical year for Katy Perry. Her delightful EDM collaboration with Zedd, “365,” and her bouncy reggaeton collaboration with Daddy Yankee and Snow, “Con Calma (Remix)” added some variety to her trademark power pop sound. In terms of solo songs, “Never Really Over” was a simply sublime pop confection while “Harleys In Hawaii” is arguably one of Katy’s smoothest and sexiest songs to date. It may have seemed like a rocky transition over the past few years, but as Katy and her audience have matured, her sound truly has evolved.
On “Never Worn White,” a stunning ballad about her imminent marriage to Orlando Bloom, Katy delivers a lush vocal performance complete with sweeping strings, delicate piano, and simple but heartwarming lyrics. The song is grounded by a sample of Felix Mendelssohn’s “Wedding March,” a near universal wedding standard usually played as a recessional. Katy delivers one of her most emotive vocal performances to date on this song; the ache and longing in her voice dissolves as the song progresses into an anthem of true undying love. In this era of singles that seem to have exponentially decreasing runtimes, this nearly four-minute ballad gives the appropriate window of time for the emotion to build into a cathartic climax.
Katy’s songwriting has a trademark tendency to dip into cliché, sometimes too liberally, but on “Never Worn White,” every lyric is perfect. Katy makes the smart decision to focus on a narrative that steadily progresses throughout the song as opposed to overly-intricate moments of metaphor or imagery. From dating and engagement to marriage and children (yes, Katy is pregnant with her first child!), with every aspect of the song, “Never Worn White” beautifully illustrates the splendor of love in all of its evolutions.