This year’s Katy Perry offerings “Never Really Over,” “Small Talk,” and the Zedd collab “365” were all fairly appealing. Maybe they seemed a bit underwhelming coming from someone who used to be one of the most surefire singles artists in pop — actually, they were definitely underwhelming, as demonstrated by their failure to move the needle in Perry’s former playground, the Hot 100 — but at least they weren’t “Bon Appétit,” right? So it’s unpleasant to report that Perry has officially entered her washed-up phase with today’s new release.
“Harleys In Hawaii” is a completely unexceptional song about riding motorcycles in Barack Obama’s birthplace. The whole concept is right there in the title, and neither the music nor the video does much to sell it. Sonically it finds her sighing breathily against a syncopated groove that feels like it might flatline at any moment. There are obvious metaphors about Perry revving up her lover’s engine and inviting him to “explore the island vibes.” Such phrasing might have worked through sheer force of will in one of her sugar-rush jams of old, but here it just underlines what a bizarre premise she’s working with. As for the video — directed by Manson, aka the team of Pau Lopez, Gerardo del Hierro, and Tomas Pena — it looks like her budget has decreased significantly, or else they spent it all on traveling to Hawaii and renting motorcycles. The whole thing feels low-rent. It’s sad.
Watch below, I guess.