“Don’t Ever Look Back, Don’t Ever Look Back”

(This is a slightly pitch-adjusted version. The original is unembeddable, but if it bothers you, it’s at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98WtmW-lfeE.)

The reason that I like Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream” is not because I identify with it. And I’m not going to pretend that that’s why. I am not female, nor have experienced love like Ms. Perry sings it, nor (at this point in life) share the thoughts that she expresses. But recently, the song has still managed to draw me in with intensity that few others have had during my several years of listening to anything and everything as a budding music critic. Other than the fact that it sounds great, it’s also because at the most abstract level, the song embodies an idea that I always cherished above almost anything else. The narrator’s dream may have been fulfilled by her significant other; but at another level, it’s freedom that drives that teenage dream.

No regrets, just love
We can dance until we die
You and I
We’ll be young forever

She knows she’s free, and she’s proud of it. The song is alive with Ms. Perry’s raw, jubilant shouts, an energetic soundtrack, and confident abandon. The freedom that she sings of is a kind that not everyone achieves in their lifetime–I don’t know if the artist herself has even achieved it. With it, you’re bold enough to be able to just drop everything and go. You have the peace of mind to know that your choices will be right. And you know without a doubt that you’ll be happy no matter what happens; maybe because of a person in your life, or maybe because of something else that you’ve found along the way.

I’m not like that. Neither are most people. I could probably count on one hand who live life as if they have achieved this. “Teenage Dream” is a reminder of what could still be: neither of the song’s characters experienced their teenage dream when they were actually teenagers, but better late than never. Listening to a song that, with every fiber of its being, testifies to the euphoria of pure freedom is a huge gulp of fresh air.

Now baby I believe
This is real
So take a chance
And don’t ever look back
Don’t ever look back


4 thoughts on ““Don’t Ever Look Back, Don’t Ever Look Back”

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