This will be KP’s fifth studio effort, and so far we’ve heard the singles “Daisies”, “Harleys in Hawaii”, and “Never Really Over”. Already, this time feels different. Over the course of these (now) four singles, Perry hasn’t collaborated at all with ghostwriters like Max Martin or Dr. Luke. That’s unprecedented for Perry, who vaulted onto the scene with a Martin-and-Dr.-Luke ditty, “I Kissed a Girl”. Martin in particular is Perry’s oldest and steadiest collaborator, and together they co-wrote five songs on Teenage Dream, over half of Prism, and three Witness singles including “Bon Appetit” and “Chained to the Rhythm”. While her relationship with Martin’s old pal Dr. Luke is somewhat complicated, ultimately her reasons are her own. Five albums into a blockbuster career, Perry has chosen to branch out with new and varied songwriting teams.
“Smile” takes a volume approach to collaborators, with credits to ghostwriters Starrah, Ferras, Josh Abraham, Benny Golson, and Oliver Goldstein. It samples Naughty by Nature’s 1999 classic “Jamboree”, and features lyrics overbrimming with warmth and gratitude. The song evokes the light at the end of the tunnel, as Perry sings “it’s really been a while/ But now I got back that smile!”
In a statement, Perry explained that the cut came from a place of great pain. She said, “I wrote this song when I was coming through one of the darkest periods of my life. When I listen to it now, it’s a great reminder that I made it through. It’s three minutes of energizing hopefulness.”
Check out “Smile” below. For a high-definition listening experience, you can sign up for a 60-day free trial of TIDAL HiFi.
As for the album of the same name, it drops August 14th via Capitol Records. Pre-orders have already begun.
In March, Perry revealed she was pregnant by releasing the song “Never Worn White”. Those happy tidings haven’t slowed her down, and in June she participated in a virtual graduation ceremony for the class of 2020, as well as the “Dear Class of 2020” post-graduation party. Earlier this year, she won her “Dark Horse” plagiarism lawsuit on appeal.