Smile! No, really. That’s the name of Katy Perry’s fifth album – and it’s the name of the song she released on July 10. After teasing her fans for weeks, Katy, 35, not only revealed the name of #KP5, but she also released its signature song. Though she said she wrote “Smile” during “one of the darkest periods” of her life, this single has a playful, bouncy beat – perfectly matching Smile‘s clown-themed artwork. “But every tear has been a lesson/Rejection can be God’s protection/Long hard road to get that redemption/ But no shortcuts to a blessin’,” the California native sings, reflecting on a low point in her life.
Katy bounces back in the chorus, however, proving she’s as resilient as ever. “Yeah, I’m thankful/Scratch that, baby, I’m grateful/Gotta say it’s really been a while/But now I got back that smile,” she sings in the catchy chorus. The positive, upbeat tune is perfect for the long summer days and a reminder that just like Katy — who has experienced her fair share of highs and lows, including a battle with depression.
The unveiling of Katy’s new album title was a total circus. Actually, it was a circus-themed roll-out, because Katy has proven that she can never be too extra. To find out the name of her album, KatyCats had to tweet to pop virtual balloons. Like an actual carnival game, it was a long and frustrating affair, but the ingenious fans figured it out and “won” the game. Their prize? The title of the album, which is due on Aug. 14, as well as the cover art. Smile‘s artwork depicts Katy as a clown in a blue and white checkered suit and a big red nose. Oh, and the album’s title is written as if it’s an actual smile.
Despite all this jovial imagery, Katy indicated “Smile” represents a moment in her life when the last thing she wanted to do was crack a grin. “I wrote the title track from the album when I was coming through one of the darkest periods of my life and had lost my smile,” she posted on social media ahead of the song’s release. “This whole album is my journey towards the light – with stories of resilience, hope, and love.”
Step right up! Step right up! 🎪 KP5 is called 🙂 #SMILE 🙂
— KATY PERRY (@katyperry) July 9, 2020
Smile is Katy’s first album since 2017’s Witness, which – to put it mildly — wasn’t a critical or commercial success. It currently sits at 52 on Metacritic and, disregarding her Katy Hudson debut, it’s her lowest-selling album. In its defense, the album did spawn the twice-Platinum single “Chained To The Rhythm,” certified-Gold “Bon Appetit,” and Platinum-selling “Swish Swish.” Despite this, Witness will forever mark a low point in Katy’s professional and personal life. The mild reception to the record was compounded by her then-breakup to her now-fiancé Orlando Bloom, something she opened about during the June 26 episode of Q on CBC.
“My career was on this trajectory when it was going up, up and up, and then I had the smallest shift, not that huge from an outside perspective. But for me, it was seismic,” she said. “I had broken up with my boyfriend, who is now my baby-daddy-to-be, and then I was excited about flying high off the next record, and the record didn’t get me high anymore. … The validation didn’t get me high, and so I just crashed.”
“It was like a necessary brokenness,” she said. “It was so important for me to be broken, so that I could find my wholeness in a whole different way and be more dimensional than just living my life like a thirsty pop star all the time. … Gratitude is probably the thing that saved my life, because if I didn’t find that, I would have wallowed in my own sadness and probably just jumped. I just wake up, and I say, ‘Thank you, God, for today. I am grateful in every way.”
Smile’s tracklist hasn’t been released, but it’s assumed that her previously released singles – “Never Really Over,” “Daisies,” “Small Talk,” “Never Worn White,” and “Harleys In Hawaii” — will be on it.