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Read Owen Pallett's music theory deconstruction of Katy Perry's “Teenage Dream”

25 March 2014, 15:46 | Written by Luke Morgan Britton

In the wake of the now-infamous article doing the rounds on social media about how music criticism has become void of actual music, or indeed criticism, Owen Pallett has decided to pen a piece for Slate showing that in this day and age you can still “write a ‘not boring’ piece that explains a successful pop song using music theory”.

Pallett’s song of choice? “Teenage Dream” by Katy Perry. The reason? “Because this song’s success seems to mystify all the Katy Perry haters in the world”.

One of the factors in its success, the Canadian musician says, is “suspension”, which listeners “often associate with ‘exhilaration’, being on the road, being on a roller coaster, travel”.

“The insistence of the tonic in the melody keeps your ears’ eyes fixed on the destination, but the song never arrives there. Weightlessness is achieved,” he argues.

Pallett goes on to discuss the songwriting of both Blood Orange and Black Sabbath, whilst admitting that deconstructing a track like Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” would be far more difficult. “That is a complicated song,” he says.

You can read the full article here, while Pallett’s new album In Conflict is being prepped for a 12 May release.

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