After its first full week of sales, Katy Perry's lead single for her upcoming album, Prism, skyrocketed to number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. The single marks the singer/songwriter's best debut week, and it is not only a commercial success but also a strong artistic statement. Katy Perry is the current pop diva least afraid to embrace feel-good mainstream material. "Roar" is an arena-sized pop anthem built out of shouting choruses and thundering drum machines. Its exuberant pick-yourself-up life-affirming nature makes it the powerhouse pop single radio has been begging for all summer.
Some critics and fans have criticized that the track is not much a departure from Perry's Teenage Dream material, contradicting her claims that the new album will be darker. Such criticisms have validity but are largely overblown. While "Roar" does peddle in similar optimistic territory as "Firework" and "Teenage Dream," it also steps away from the dance-pop those tracks so expertly touted. "Roar" shares DNA with arena-rock and the Avril Lavigne-esque pop-rock Perry experimented with on her major-label debut, One of the Boys. Just as early tracks like "Waking Up in Vegas" sounded grittier because they favored guitars over electronics, "Roar" has a rough under-current reinforced by Perry's throaty delivery. She's come to rock this time around, not dance. Teenage Dream saw Perry find her artistic voice; if "Roar" is any indication, Prism may find her harnessing that voice to create her most fully realized artistic vision yet.