Sydney Ukulele Player Plays The Katy Perry Songbook
I’m a big fan of the American singer and song writer Katy Perry. The latest addition to my repertoire list is “Last Friday Night”. This joins three other Katy Perry songs I perform which are “Firework”, “Teenage Dream” and “Hot n Cold”.
A typical trait of Katy Perry’s songwriting is her use of simple repetitive diatonic chord progressions. With the most recent Katy Perry song I’ve just learnt (Last Friday Night), the song consists of just four chords repeated over and over. The quirky thing, however, is that it never resolves to the Tonic, or “one” chord.
To suit my voice better, I have transposed the song into the key of “C”, but I never play a “C” chord. In the newly transposed key of “C”, the chords runs like this – F, Dm, Am, G. In terms of numbers, this sequence is IV, ii, vi, V. I find this very clever.
Another song I recently learnt that never uses the “one” chord was Justin Beiber’s “Sorry”. I play this song in the original key (which is Eb) but there is no “Eb” chord in the song. The chords run Ab, Cm, Bb. The Fm chord is also used. Therefore, the song uses the IV chord, V chord, the vi chord and the ii chord, but never the “one” chord.
With limited chordal movement, Katy Perry’s songs obviously need something else to make them interesting. She does this primarily with her lyrics. The four Katy Perry songs I’ve learnt range from funny (Last Friday Night), to inspiring (Firework), to vulnerable (Teenage Dream), to aggressive (Hot n Cold).
From “Last Friday Night”
We went streaking in the park
Skinny dipping in the dark
Then had a menage a trios (last word pronounced “twa”)
Maybe the reason why, all the doors are closed
So you can open one that leads you to the perfect road
From “Teenage Dream”
My heart stops when you look at me
Just one touch and baby I believe
This is real, so take a chance and don’t ever look back don’t ever look back
From “Hot n Cold”
You change your mind, like a girl changes clothes, and
You PMS, like a bitch, I would know
The four Katy Perry songs I know all work really well on the ukulele. I’m looking forward to learning my fifth Katy Perry song!