Harleys In Hawaii, the latest of 2019’s bi-monthly musical drops from Katy Perry, oozes that which her last single, ‘Small Talk,’ lacked. Identity. The latter is cute and sugary, but doesn’t do anything to set Perry apart in a streaming landscape overcrowded by artists also fighting for relatability. ‘Harleys’, in a stark contrast, hums and pulsates with a breezy, self-assured, and relaxed energy, and it is uniquely Katy Perry.

The track, which in addition to ‘Small Talk’ is also produced by Charlie Puth, is the sexually flourished but introverted cousin of Perry’s 2010 hit ‘Teenage Dream.’ Perry is no longer prospecting or broadcasting the superficial thrills of young love, but rather has recognized the intimate and sacred covenant of one-on-one solitude with her forever man. The track is sexy, passionate, and sultry.

Harleys in Hawaii’, much like ‘Small Talk’ is a first -rate display of Perry’s vocal abilities, and caters to the strengths of her voice. Perry’s phrasing and placement have always made her distinctive. Unlike some of her biggest hits, such as ‘Firework’ and ‘Roar,’ ‘Harleys’ appears primed for Perry’s live performances, tailored to her capabilities.

The overwhelmingly positive response generated online within the first several hours of release poises ‘Harleys’ to be Perry’s next smash. Though ‘Never Really Over’ saw radio success that Perry hasn’t seen in years, she has struggled to score a truly dominant radio hit since 2014 due to the commercially lackluster (though critically mischaracterized) ‘Witness’ era of her career. ‘Harleys’ is radio fodder, and with proper promotion, could create a real impact.

Perry’s artistic rejuvenation is obvious. She is producing the best music she’s made since ‘Chained to the Rhythm,’ and I look forward to seeing what else Perry has up her sleeve. 📸: @capitolrecords