Katy Perry just announced the name of her sixth album, Smile. The discussion of a new album has been in the pipeline since 2018. So far, four songs from the album have been released, namely “Never Really Over” released on May 31, 2019, “Harleys in Hawaii” released on October 16, 2019, “Daisies” released on May 15, 2020 and “Smile” released on July 10, 2020.
According to Perry, the latest released title track “Smile” was written when she was coming through one of the darkest periods of her life, “When I listen to it now, it’s a great reminder that I made it through. It’s three minutes of energizing hopefulness.”
The song starts with stuttering a brass and woodwind sample taken from Naughty By Nature’s 1999 song “Jamboree.” The beat is a heavy standard. The kick sounds solid and deep. There is an electric bass guitar in the mix, however it’s taking more of a secondary roll to the dominant stuttering sample and the drums. The overall tempo is approximately 100 BPM and the song appears to be in the key of D minor.
In the chorus, the remastered “Jamboree” sample is played exactly how it was in the original 1999 track. The vocals begin. They are very clear and sit very well in the mix. The bass guitar becomes a little louder. A clear and somewhat muted funky guitar rhythm starts with a touch of chorus and delay. There are some intermittent background vocalists who play an increasing roll later in the song, however they only play a very brief roll in the first chorus. The simple but catchy lyrics and deep grove make this song radio ready and easy for dancing.
The chorus reflects Perry’s positive message and is repeated four times throughout the song and is as follows, “Yeah, I’m thankful / Scratch that, baby, I’m grateful / Gotta say it’s really been a while / But now I got back that smile (Woo, smile) / I’m so thankful / Scratch that, baby, I’m grateful / Now you see me shine from a mile / Finally got back that smile (Smile, oh, oh)”
During the verse, the vocals take the leading roll, the sample isn’t used and the only instruments playing appear to be the drums, bass and electric guitar. In the pre-chorus, the vocals and backing vocals seem to be mixed close to the same volume. They have an interesting harmonizing effect almost appearing to be singing in different octaves.
The second chorus returns with little to no variation; however, the second verse has some significant changes. There is a brief pause in the instrumentals while vocals sing unaccompanied for about a bar until there is a reversed snare fade in. The R&B backing vocals take on an increasingly dominant roll up to the third chorus.
The eight-bar bridge uses an aggressive low pass filter across the entire mix for the first two bars, starts to gradually brighten up beginning in the third bar before totally opening up at the end of the fourth bar. There doesn’t appear to be any filter used on the remaining four bars of the bridge.
The fourth chorus returns with significant R&B backing vocal variations. The energy level starts to decrease. The outro vocals are pretty interesting and appear to transition back and forth between warm and bright tones. A new plucked instrument is introduced that sounds like a banjo, but is probably a synth or a sample. The song ends with heavy reverberation and a fading delay.
Smile is due to be released on August 14. It’s expected to contain 12 tracks (14 tracks on the Target store release) and last almost 37 minutes. This will be Katy Perry’s first album since 2017.