(Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images)
Katy Perry attends MusiCares Person of the Year honoring Dolly Parton at Los Angeles Convention Center on Feb. 8, 2019 in Los Angeles. 

“Never Really Over” hinted at it, and “Small Talk” confirms it: the Katy Perry Renaissance (Perrissaince?) is here, undeniably and spectacularly. 

With her latest single, released on Friday (Aug. 9), Perry has recovered the top-level song craft that both her fans and general pop enthusiasts have been craving for years, a return to form for an artist who spent the better part of this decade’s first half dominating the mainstream. Katy Perry, expert pop-song supplier, is back. Resistance isn’t futile, but it’s a lot less fun.

Part of what makes the Perrissaince so gleefully entertaining is how unexpected it is — at least now, in the middle of 2019. Perry, who collected a whopping 10 No. 1 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 chart across her first three albums from 2008 to 2014, faltered as a bulletproof commercial entity with her fourth album, 2017’s politics-adjacent and under-developed Witness. The album marked Perry’s first project that failed to consistently produce hits, and even with lead single “Chained to the Rhythm” debuting in the top 10 of the Hot 100, the album was largely considered a commercial misfire. 

Then, earlier this year, Perry’s first post-Witness radio single was “365,” an undercooked electro-pop collaboration with Zedd that bowed at No. 86 on the Hot 100 and never climbed any higher. Zedd’s first commercial release since his international smash “The Middle” with Maren Morris, “365” and its tepid reception seemed to confirm that, regardless of whether her songs offered a political subtext or not, Perry’s status as a consistent hitmaker may have come to an end, after years of mind-boggling success.

But then “Never Really Over” happened. Another team-up with Zedd, the breakup single contained the sort of ecstatic hooks that Perry had mastered during her Teenage Dream days. There’s an appealing looseness to the song’s energy — with a rapid-fire chorus (inspired by “Love You Like That” from Norwegian artist Dagny, who’s listed as a songwriter) and the ticking-clock production that Zedd has turned into a recent touchstone, “Never Really Over” allowed Perry to showcase the elasticity of her personality (“I’m losing my self-controoool,” she wails in the opening seconds) in a way that the Witness singles and “365” did not. By the sixth time you heard its chorus and tried in vain to keep up with the bullet-time declarations, it was clear that “Never Really Over,” seemingly out of nowhere, represented a triumph for Perry, and her strongest single since “Dark Horse” a half-decade earlier.

“Never Really Over” did not become another top 10 hit for Perry, but the song did reach No. 15 on the Hot 100, and has hung around the top 40 for months following its late May release (it currently sits at No. 29 on the current chart, up three spots from last week). Combined with the concurrent success of “Con Calma (Remix)” — Daddy Yankee’s new single featuring Perry and Snow, which peaked at No. 22 earlier this summer — Perry had made inroads back into popular music relatively quickly after some consecutive missteps.

You can read more at the Source here: https://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/pop/8527060/katy-perry-renaissance-small-talk-single