The fifth single released from Katy Perry's PRISM was "This is How We Do." According to Katy, it's a "sequel" of sorts to "Last Friday Night." It's my least favorite track on the album mostly due to its subject matter - the LA club scene, which annoys the crap out of me. But Katy does enough in this song to bump that rating up a bit. It has some clever lines, and while many people felt "Birthday" was a bit too generic of a pop song, "This is How We Do" is actually a bit less generic.
This is one of those tracks I expected to be a pretty good single commercially speaking. Yet, it hasn't performed all that well. It's only charted as highly as #24 on the Billboard Hot 100. It's done a bit better on the Mainstream Top 40, topping out at #18. It's too bad, especially considering how cute and quirky the music video for it was. I think it should have done better than "Birthday" as the summer song it was meant to be - but it just didn't connect with the mainstream audience in the way that Katy imagined that it would.
"This is How We Do" has some good things going for it. That deep electronic male voice really irks me and the song would've been better off without it. It is a bit more cleverly written than "Birthday" which basically ran on a very simple and rather base premise - that is, not so cleverly hidden, sex is fun. (At least that's how I read it - I don't know about you!) This song is just all about acting out and just having a good time. Yeah, we all do stupid things in the name of fun and Katy makes some "shout-outs" to some particularly ridiculous things. It's got a great beat and the chorus is definitely memorable.
This is how we do, yeah, chilling, laid back
Straight stuntin' yeah we do it like that
This is how we do, do do do do, this is how we do
It's simple, but it works. It seems like one of those simple choruses that would carry a song like this into the Top 10 at the very least. That just didn't happen. The gimmick didn't work. I could break down the verses and do a more thorough analysis, but I don't think that there's anything there to explain why this song has been one of Katy's greatest "failures" as far as her singles have gone. Obviously, you've done pretty well for yourself when topping out at #24 on the Billboard Hot 100 is a "failure." But it really did not win over the mainstream, and I'm a bit puzzled as to why.
I will say the bit towards the end where she says "no, no, no, bring the beat back!" to be absolutely adorable - especially in the video. The song has plenty of energy, and while I'm sick of songs about mindless dumb fun, especially that involves "clubbing", Katy does it in a cute enough way for it to not annoy me.
Back in November, I rated this song a 7.5/10. I'd hold to that rating. I've gotten a bit more faith in "Dark Horse" since then - especially after its video - that atrocious monstrosity of a video - actually won the MTV VMA's award for Best Video! After my recent review, I'd have to say this is now my least favorite track - and that's not to say I don't enjoy it. "This is How We Do" is just a guilty pleasure for me. It doesn't drag down the rest of the album for me, but it's never going to be one of my favorite Katy tracks.
"Unconditionally" was the official second single from Katy Perry's 2013 album PRISM. While "Dark Horse" and "Walking On Air" received considerable radio play after their debut on iTunes, they were considered promotional singles, and not true singles. However, "Dark Horse," which would soon go on to be a Billboard Hot 100 #1 hit for 4 weeks straight, did become the third - and easily most successful single - due to its massive popularity.
As far as singles go, "Unconditionally" is about as far from "Roar" or "Dark Horse" as you can get. It is, very simply, a power love ballad about unconditional love. "Thinking of You" and "The One That Got Away" were major hits as ballads for Katy, but this one didn't fare nearly as well on the charts. Why is that? Let's see if we can figure it out.
"Unconditionally" shows us Katy at both her most vulnerable and also at her most powerful. Katy has a far more powerful voice than a lot of people realize, vocal talents that were not always incredibly apparent on many tracks on her previous album, One of the Boys and Teenage Dream. Katy really shines on this track, singing from the heart in ways she's only ever done with "Thinking of You," "Who Am I Living For," and "Not Like the Movies." (The latter two are actually very underrated tracks.) This is not to say that she doesn't always sing from the heart, but this is easily one of the most intense singing performances that Katy's ever undertaken. There are a few other tracks later on PRISM where she matches and even surpasses the vocal efforts in this one. Katy really wanted to test herself on this record.
Critics were generally very kind to "Unconditionally." Some fan reactions to it were that it felt a bit "generic" for a love song. But it has some very powerful lines in it. The most poignant one I would say is this: "Acceptance is the key to be/To be truly free." You have to accept both yourself and your partner for your respective faults in any given situation and learn how to be there for one another; that was something that obviously did not happen in her disastrous first marriage. But the best part about "Unconditionally," and Katy has said this herself, that the song can be taken on a wide variety of levels. It's the entire concept of unconditional love that she's singing about, in any kind of relationship, familial, platonic, romantic or otherwise.
Unconditional love is all about taking those bad days with the good and learning how to help your friend or partner open up and stop fearing being judged unfairly. This is a very difficult concept for some people to understand. As Katy has revealed herself, she never really gave people a chance to understand just how badly her depression after her divorce from Russell Brand affected her. While she certainly downplayed it a bit around the time of the album's release, Katy has over time become more open about how long Katy was in a very dark place, desperately fighting to keep herself going. Even with all of the overwhelming fan support she received, Katy realized that she finally had to let the light in for herself. She had to learn to love herself unconditionally, as well. And in learning that, Katy wants to spread that love to everyone. Katy's promise to love unconditionally is just one of the most beautiful things I've ever heard.
"Unconditionally" never became a #1 hit, and peaked at #14 on the Billboard Hot 100. However, it is a song that is beloved by many and just isn't the sort of song that charts well nowadays. It deserves a high rating simply because it is one of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard. Back in November I rated it as a 9.5 out of 10. I'm tempted to give it a perfect 10, but I'll hold to that judgment for now. It's certainly one of the most beautiful songs on PRISM and it has been a real treat to hear her perform it live.
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