Katy Perry may have been the most underrated artist of 2019. Of course, at Katy’s level of stardom, she can’t truly be underrated, but hear me out. Her 2019 releases began with a sublime slice of dance-pop by the name of “365,” a collaboration with Zedd, and a remix of Daddy Yankee and Snow’s “Con Calma.” In terms of solo songs, Katy kicked things off with the excellent “Never Really Over.” The hook-laden piece of pop perfection landed at #15 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was soon followed up by the less-than-stellar “Small Talk” which barely entered the charts at #81. A few months later, there was “Harleys In Hawaii.” One of Katy’s strongest songs to date, the way that America ignored this track was appalling. Unfortunately, “Harleys In Hawaii” failed to enter the Billboard Hot 100. Earlier this year, Katy also released a gorgeous ballad titled “Never Worn White” in commemoration of her pregnancy and upcoming wedding. That song also failed to enter the Hot 100.
This timeline brings us to the Katy’s new single, “Daisies,” the lead single from her as-yet-untitled upcoming fifth pop album. “Daisies” sees Katy setting her sights on a new target audience. Instead of pandering to the younger end of the mainstream pop audience spectrum, “Daisies” expertly sets Katy up for the older demographic. The adult contemporary single drops the electropop of Witness in favor of softer synths and pop-rock guitars. In the verses and pre-chorus Katy utilizes her lower register as she sings about remaining true to the path you have set for yourself despite any setbacks. For a midtempo track, “Daisies” has a quick pace. The verses are just two lines long, but they do pack a punch with questions like “When did we all stop believing in magic?/Why did we put all our hopes in a box in the attic?” This track primarily relies on its chorus (which is first sung softly and then repeated with a more full-voiced belt), and that’s not necessarily a bad thing because the production is interesting enough to keep the listener engaged. Katy collaborated with The Monsters & Strangerz (Camila Cabello‘s “Shameless“; Bebe Rexha‘s “Sad”) and Jon Bellion (Christina Aguilera‘s “Fall In Line”; Selena Gomez‘s “Vulnerable“) on “Daisies.” Jon’s influence is particularly apparent in the manic way that Katy exclaims “daisies” at the end of the chorus. The only weak part of the track is the bridge; it feels oddly empty when it could have been an opportunity for a real vocal or lyrical show.
“Daisies” is a strong song. This may not initially seem like a typical Katy Perry lead single, but it is clear that she is looking to align herself with the Kelly Clarksons and P!nks as opposed to the Ariana Grandes and Dua Lipas — a wise decision. Time will tell if this choice pays off on the charts, but for right now “Daisies,” a rollicking self-empowerment anthem, is a strong pivot and yet another great track from Katy.