Katy Perry - Wide Awake
After two years, the “Teenage Dream” era has sufficiently changed Katy Perry’s life. Her singles, albums, and concert tickets sold like never before, and she reached a level of success early in her career that not many artists ever reach. “Wide Awake” was the song to wrap up her feelings on the end of the era. The past two years have held Katy high on cloud 9 (literally, in her “California Gurls” video), with her success and marriage to Russel Brand. However, as the era came to an end, so did her marriage. Her divorce brought her back to reality, making the singer “Wide Awake” after her two year “Teenage Dream.”
Katy Perry was born into a religious, Christian family; her two parents are strict ministers, who sheltered Katy from the real world throughout her childhood. Obviously, with her debut single titled “I Kissed a Girl,” Katy didn’t associate herself with the most strict aspects of her religious upbringing. However, she did cherish the sacrament of Holy Matrimony. Therefore, she felt guilty and mortified after her short marriage came to an abrupt ending. This was portrayed by the lyrics in the bridge, “thunder rumbling, castles crumbling.” Everything going well in her life was falling apart. However she remained optimistic about the future, singing, “God knows that I tried seeing the bright side.” She does not fear punishment for what she believes to be a sin because she knows that she genuinely tried to make everything work out. The song overall sends a dark message, about facing the reality of the cruel world around us. However, it also has a positive message that sometimes it is good to wake up and see reality, allowing you to move forward in life, as depicted in the video for the song.
To begin the last video of the “Teenage Dream” era, Katy Perry revisits the first, “California Gurls.” The video takes place on Candy Land set; it is fun and friendly, but in no way does it represent reality. In the introduction to “Wide Awake,” Katy is in her dressing room, wearing the wig from the “California Gurls” video. After she pulls off her wig, the song begins, representing Katy’s “awakening.”
Katy finds herself in a dark maze that symbolizes the confusion and various twists and turns in her life. She shoots a firework from her chest, which references her song “Firework” as well as “Part of Me.” (“This is the part of me that you’re never gonna ever take away from me…now look at me, I’m sparkling a firework a dancing flame.”) No matter what Katy struggles through, she always keeps that “spark” inside that pushes her forward. She then eats a bright red strawberry, which could be a depiction of Katy’s opinion of fame: It looks great on the outside, but it causes harm and evil. The strawberry looked sweet and delicious, but it caused pain and illness.
As Katy is struggling to find her way out of the maze, we are introduced to her younger self. The presence of the young Katy represents her remembering why she initially wanted a career in the music industry. Remembering that her dream comes with negativity inspires her to push through the bad to obtain the positives that come along with her dream career. Young Katy and present Katy encounter guards that are obstructing their path which symbolizes the various obstacles that Katy faced throughout the years building up to her recent success. Little Katy fights through these guards, meaning that when Katy remembers her innocent dream, she stays true to herself, and she fights to keep moving forward. It was this determination that ultimately got her to her success.
At the end of the video Katy meets Prince charming. However, instead of a cliche fairy tale happy ending, she punches him in the face. She understands that she is fine by herself, and she does not need a man in her life to be happy. After this, she goes back to her job: performing. She rises onto the stage, starting one concert of the hundreds that she performed last year. This shows that regardless of any obstacles or revelations in her path, Katy is able to put on a show for her fans to enjoy.
In the “Wide Awake” video, Katy shows another level of her artistry, providing closure to the end of a memorable era. While other artists throw an album of potential hit singles out every year, Katy puts out collections of work that represent a period of her life. The “Teenage Dream” era began with transparent singles about partying and high school love, and it ended with singles about self-empowerment, self-esteem, and facing reality. Katy has grown as an artist, and I am extremely excited to see what is left to come!
This is a great description of the symbolism! Thank you for it. You saved me a lot of time and writing, which I’m not very good at.
I wanted to add that, Katy said the strawberry symbolized something sweet and juicy like fame and traveling around the world meeting all the fans, which is considered to be great and then she’s in a wheel chair in a hospital/mental institute which represents the dark side of all this “sweetness” that fame can bring to your life.
Personally, I think this is one of Katy’s best music videos. You can tell she wears her heart on her sleeve. And it also shows how hard she’s worked since she was very young. This show how you should never ever ever give up on your dreams no matter how many obstacles life gives you. Never give up no matter how many “No’s” you receive.