First Hit #1: February 8, 2014
Dark Horse is interesting, even if it’s kind of a mess. It certainly doesn’t make any sense at all, basically just a car crash of metaphors, and while Perry does manage to wrangle a hook out of it there really isn’t much here that is all that coherent. It seems to be Perry and company reaching for something that’s a bit more underground than they might otherwise be expected to embrace, especially given that it has the bass-heavy production of a high school student playing around without great speakers – listen to this with a subwoofer and it’s window shaking, reminiscent of the music my friends made in high school themselves trying to squeeze some low end out of cheap PC speakers and subsequently shaking the trim off their cars. Perry and co’s pop instincts naturally break through that low end, but it’s not a sound you expect to actually hear on the radio, which makes it compelling in its own way. Perry’s taste in rapper seems to have declined unfortunately, Juicy J is just not particularly interesting here and could be cut without losing anything. Still Dark Horse is notable just for being a decidedly odd song from one of the most mainstream artists out there.