Katy Perry’s mysterious side has always been more alluring to me than her crazy and outrageous side. To me, songs like ET and Wide Awake had much more appeal than colorful pop tunes like California Girls. I may be in the minority, but I believe Katy is at her best when given subdued songs that pull us in, rather than blow us away.
That said, her latest release should be right up my alley. Dark Horse gives us a glistening synth beat that is absolutely hypnotic. Layered on top of a slow grinding trap beat, the song weaves together a unique and infectious melody. Its an effective teachno-meets-hip-hop-meets-trip-hop hybrid that totally scores! The dark and spacey sound will intrigue, but the song’s easy groove makes it go down easy.
The beat is definitely the best thing about the song…unfortunately, this doesn’t say much for Miss Perry’s involvement. Her voice is definitely in its pocket, both alluring and decadent. She delivers some catchy hooks, and a memorable verse….but there isn’t much more to be said.
The song’s chorus doesn’t actually feel like a chorus. It somehow plays more like the buildup to…well, an actual chorus. Right when you would expect Katy to unleash one of her anthemic, larger than life choruses, the beat just falls out completely, leaving us with a rather sparse and empty feeling hip-hop beat. It just feels extremely anti-climatic….like the slick production somehow managed to cop-out when it got to the song’s high point.
A rap verse from Juicy J doesn’t do the song any favors. In fact, his rather crass rapping feels jarring and out of place when placed next to Katy’s sultry vocals. Overall, Dark Horse just feels like its lacking something. Katy Perry songs are usually known for their anthemic choruses, so for a song to leave me cold where it counts just seems…unforgivable.
Final Score: 2/5