Round 1 of the Great Battle of the Pop Divas (otherwise known as Fall 2013) began today with the simultaneous release of new singles from Katy Perry and Lady Gaga. Perry’s “Roar” kicks off her much-anticipated ‘Prism’ era and a much-hyped departure from the pop singer’s 2010 ‘Teenage Dream’ — an album that produced a record-tying five #1 singles. After leaking online over the weekend, “Roar” stormed pop radio this morning to generally positive reviews from fans and music critics alike. Admittedly, the self-empowerment anthem isn’t overly sophisticated, its lyrics rarely rise above cliches and simple rhymes, and its mid-tempo BPM seems a little sluggish, especially when compared to her previous dance-pop bangers. That said, there’s something entirely fantastic about this track that makes it an instant hit. The hands-in-the-air, shout-along chorus is instantly memorable, and Perry delivers one of her strongest vocals yet.
Meanwhile, Gaga’s “Applause” also leaked over the weekend, prompting the singer to release the lead single from her upcoming ARTPOP album a week early. With “Applause,” Gaga makes good on her promise to go back to the “fun” musical roots that catapulted her stardom, and which seemed largely absent from the ‘Born this Way’ era. The single is upbeat, catchy, and dance-floor ready, and I love the unmistakable musical references to the better pop sounds of the 80s and 90s. “Applause” also seems tailor-made to amp up fans at big sporting events, concerts, and the like. Take a listen here: http://news.iheart.com/player/?mid=23570412
I like both tracks, but I’d have to give Round 1 to Katy Perry. Remixed, I think “Roar” is going to be massive, and the single just sounds like an end-of-summer smash anthem. “Applause” will do well for Gaga, and will no doubt be one of the year’s biggest hits. But Katy Perry has proven to be unstoppable on the charts, and I think “Roar” is strong enough to give her another chart-topper. Watch the drama unfold as “Roar” and “Applause” go head-to-head on next week’s Billboard Hot 100.[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e9SeJIgWRPk]