First Hit #1: December 18, 2010
Katy Perry’s inspiration to the downtrodden was inevitable. Teenage Dream was basically an album about everything being amazing and everyone being awesome, and with the stories of bullying inspiring other songs, with varying degrees of success, Perry was going to travel to that well. Perry also arguably manages to make the first one that succeeds in its aim, for one simple reason: it’s not about partying! It’s odd that she was the first to figure that out, but it’s actually important, because if people are struggling with being bullied, they’re not exactly going out to parties every night, and if they’re depressed, excessive alcohol consumption doesn’t really have any good consequences. It’s generic uplift sure, Perry’s Christian pop roots are showing in her desire to deliver inspiration to everyone she sees. It’s also pretty well done as a big dance track, having a great slow build before becoming this big explosion of beat and Perry’s own bombastic vocal.
It’s admittedly a bit cheesy, any song that attempts to be a big inspiring anthem isn’t going to escape that, and it’s still a pop song trying to capture the whole “It Gets Better” movement in under four minutes. But the fact that it actually seems to understand the people it’s trying to reach makes it head and shoulders above the songs trying to tackle the same issue via parties.