Single Review: Walking On Air by Katy Perry

Katy Perry's third single, "Walking On Air," is the most delightful offering from her forthcoming album, PRISM. Though the self-aggrandizing "Roar" is fun and "Dark Horse" has a slow-burning sexiness, "Walking On Air" takes those qualities and adds high-doses of 90s dance nostalgia. The song is the most exuberantly joyful of the three promo tracks, and it is also the most enjoyable. Taking a cue from C+C Music Factory, it features tinny drum machines and a great hook delivered by a guest vocalist doing her best Martha Wash. It also owes a lot to the 90s dance/soul/pop hybrid Whitney Houston was working at the height of her Bodyguard phase with her celebratory "Queen of the Night" and "I'm Every Woman." Madonna's Erotica is another important reference that Perry slyly name-checks in the first verse. Interestingly, despite having a clear heritage, the song is not an homage or mere re-appropriation--the kind of thing another current young pop diva is often accused of. Katy Perry does not need to lean on Madonna, Houston, or Wash because she has an aesthetic and iconography all her own--not to mention, a diverse body of work that keeps growing and evolving in interesting ways. "Walking on Air" uses textures popular two decades ago and uses them to build a new creature, something that fits with the EDM trend on radio and extends Perry's empowerment-pop catalog. It's pure genius.

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