fan fallout

The gays won’t tolerate even 15 seconds of the new Katy Perry single

Over a decade ago, Katy Perry had the queers in the palm of her well-manicured hand. Now, she’s exploding on social, but not in the way she hoped. 

Back in the 2010s, Perry stood up for LGBTQ+ rights when many pop stars refused to touch even an acrylic fingernail to controversy, specifically at a time when platforms like hers were crucial. Same-sex marriage still wasn’t legalized in the United States, and corporations hadn’t yet discovered that supporting the queer community could be profitable. But more than that, she was glamorous. She was vibrant, loud, and unapologetically herself, something every queer person wished they could comfortably be.

It was easy to fall in love with the world that Perry created around her music, with iconic songs like “I Kissed A Girl” and the controversial “Ur So Gay” instantly solidifying as pop classics — although for very different reasons — with unsubtly queer themes.

Slowly, however, the fame grew stale. Fans started to get tired of the same old sound. Every album following 2010’s “Teenage Dream” was met with progressively more lackluster critical reception from rating aggregates like Metacritic, Pitchfork, and Rolling Stone alike. 

Although the only album that truly flopped financially was 2017’s “Witness,” none of the three projects from 2013, 2017, and 2020 were good for her reputation. Emerging artists like Lorde and Billie Eilish overtook the niche space Perry had occupied in the genre and replaced it with more creativity and more complex sound profiles. With a string of lukewarm albums and a shifting genre, Perry’s star started to lose its shine. 

In the past year or so, though, rumors have floated around about Katy Perry’s next project after a long period of dormancy following lackluster critical reception. Murmurs of a sixth studio album have floated around mentions of the former sensation’s name, especially when it was announced in May that she was retiring from her role as a judge on the hit show American Idol. The new album, informally referred to as KP6, felt like it was on the near horizon. Naturally, the queers had long been awaiting this moment. Could Perry reclaim her stardom with a whole new sound?

Everything changed on June 17, 2024, when Perry abruptly announced the release date of the lead single “Woman’s World” from her next project, which still remains untitled. She uploaded a short snippet of the song on Instagram with a release date of July 11, and in the caption, noted the video release for the following day. And just like that, on the first day of the album’s promotion, Perry lost many of the fans who were holding on so tightly to their teenage dreams. 

The song’s lyrics — at least the ones we can hear so far — are as follows: 

Sexy, confident / So intelligent / She is heaven sent / So soft, so strong.

Katy Perry, “Woman’s World”

Coming off the back of several projects from younger artists with profound messages about womanhood and femininity (like Charli XCX’s “Brat”) the lyrics fall flat. With only about 15 seconds of audio, the project already feels disappointing. It’s not that anyone is celebrating Perry’s downfall. It’s just that we know she’s capable of so much more. 

A decade after flashy lines like “Barbies on the barbecue / This a hickey or a bruise?” this new snippet lacks the lyrical punch Perry was once known for. Users on X got especially catty by likening the snippet to a doggie encouragement song — which, at the very least, is pretty cute. 

But that’s not all. After all, queer people understand stan culture more than anyone else. And regardless of whether a fanbase enjoys a particular project, they’ll defend their favorite artist ‘til the end. However, listeners quickly noticed the trademark production sound of Dr. Luke and confirmed his involvement.

Just about a year after Kesha and Dr. Luke reached a settlement in a longstanding legal case, this isn’t a good look. Especially after fellow pop star Kesha quickly took to X with some not-so-cryptic shade. 

This is especially ironic considering the lead single, “Woman’s World,” seems to have a central theme of female empowerment. The questionable collaboration has fans slamming her lack of authenticity and unseemly hypocrisy. 

Although the queer community loves to throw shade, Perry is by no means canceled. The clip of “Woman’s World” disappoints lyrically, but the sound isn’t all bad. The electronic-influenced synth-pop sound is intriguing and, at the very least, a diversion. Perhaps Perry is going for something new, but it’s just not landing with Gen Z fans. Who knows what the rest of the song — or album — has in store for us? 

We’ll simply have to wait until later this summer to see whether Perry’s latest career move will result in “Champagne Problems” or become a “Dark Horse” of our summer playlist.

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