If you're gonna write a song for the Olympics, you better bring the anthemic skills. Which the always-patriotic Katy Perry definitely did this week for "Rise," the spectacularly produced surprise single where she sings, "This is no mistake, no accident / When you think the final end is near, think again / Don't be surprised, I will still rise."
Here's what Katy had to say about "Rise":
“This is a song that’s been brewing inside me for years, that has finally come to the surface. I was inspired to finish it now, rather than save it for my next album, because now more than ever, there is a need for our world to unite. I know that together we can rise above the fear – in our country, and around the world. I can’t think of a better example than the Olympic athletes, as they gather in Rio with their strength and fearlessness, to remind us how we ALL can come together, with the resolve to be the best we can be. I hope this song can inspire us to heal, unite, and rise together. I am honored that NBC Olympics has chosen to use it as an anthem before and during the Rio Games.”
Think she nailed it? –Zach Dionne
Ignore the military-themed music video and focus on the listlessness of the verses, in which a newly minted superstar wrestles with going through heartbreak in the public eye for the first time. The pre-chorus sadness of “Part of Me” only helps to make the canyon-sized hook that much more powerful. –Jason Lipshutz
A regional anthem is still an anthem, and “California Gurls” gave the West Coast the summer pop anthem that the Beach Boys couldn’t have mustered in the year 2010. Like California girls themselves, as Katy would say, this one’s undeniable. –Jason Lipshutz
Not to be overshadowed by Prism’s other fist-pumping anthems, “This Is What We Do" is a subtler ode to not giving any fucks. Katy gives a shout-out to the girls going to breakfast in the same dress from the night before and the kids buying bottle service with rent money. Is it a song for the wise? Probably not. But it is about living for this very minute, and the minutes after that, consequences be damned. –Brooke Bunce
Teenage Dream is a fun, frothy album, but “Firework” is its lynchpin, an inspiring anthem with a subtext that gives it substance. With an inclusive music video making its intentions explicit, the No. 1 smash opened its arms to a new generation looking to join hands and no longer feel like a plastic bag drifting through the wind; with “Firework,” we started again. –Jason Lipshutz
Yeah, it's got the one of the most viral song titles of all time, but there are loads of comforting lyrics in this Prism anthem. Katy kicks off singing, "You're a one of a one / A one of a kind" before equating finding and committing to a person who's as rare and special as a double rainbow. –Jeff Benjamin
Some of the lyrics are a bit ham-fisted, but how can one not get emotional when listening to Katy contemplate ending her career, battle with depression and ultimately come out stronger on the other side? “By the Grace of God” is Perry’s attempt at poignancy, and while it’s imperfect, it’s also highly effective.
Sad to think that this was written about a celebrity coupling that ended up fizzling out, but “Unconditionally” represents Katy Perry’s most genuine romantic anthem to date. The spacious production and universal lyrics make an intimate affair easy to sing along to. –Jason Lipshutz
Following up an album that produced five No. 1 hits is no easy task, and Katy opted for the fist-pumping, chest-thumping route when she returned with “Roar” to kick off album number three. Sure, there are clichés aplenty, but who doesn’t want to declare that they’ve got the eye of the tiger louder than a lion?
For more Katy Perry, take our quiz to find out which song describes your life, and check out her 13 most patriotic outfits.