Listen: Katy Perry is ‘Wide Awake’ on sad new song

I hate to make light of anybody’s personal suffering, but a breakup could very well be the best thing for Katy Perry’s sound. “Wide Awake,” the pop singer’s latest offering, is a primer for a more grown-up sound.

What has been particularly vexing about Perry’s career is the inescapable nature of her “cuteness,” which even has its way with “Part of Me,” her current single. Any legitimate sound of pain can come off as cootie-boo-hooing, with that excessive flip on her high notes or the come-hiterhing of a bridge. Her presentation at the Grammys pointed to an angry underpinning, fully realized in the wake of her divorce from Russell Brand.

Now there’s “Wide Awake,” a title that’s packed with multiple meanings. Not only is the dream over, but there’s a coming-of-age, of becoming somebody else when you wake up, you’re 27, you’re at the top of your game, and you just had a very public celebrity divorce. 

I can’t say that the lyrics offer anything particularly original, but Perry sings with maturity and balancing out the heaviness of the beat with mournful acceptance. She even brings in a little of her religious past, with reference to Daniel in the lion’s den.

Will it mean she’ll stop wearing candy-themed bras or cut out the Crayola hair-dos? Is she much less a girl and much more the woman? Not for this “Teenage Dream: The Complete Confection” album cycle, she’s still got copies to hock. Maybe, though, it is the best look into the follow-up, after the “Dream” turned into a rude awakening.

Meanwhile, the premiere for the “Part of Me” music video is coming at you tomorrow (March 21) at the very specific time of 7:23 EST on MTV. “The Complete Confection” collection will be out on March 26.

OK, applause, applause, STOP. Now let’s talk about Katy Perry’s cover of Watch the Throne’s “Niggas in Paris?”

“This is about to get real embarrassing,” Perry warned the BBC 1 Live Lounge, before reverting the famous chorus from “That sh*t cray” to “That so cray.”

I’ll hand it to her. She kept up. But it’s hard to turn this party anthem into a diva moment, even when she’s throwing up her diamonds and sporting a Yankees ballcap. Kanye West and Jay-Z would be… entertained.