It's been nine years since pop sensation Katy Perry burst on to the music scene with her summer mega-hit "I Kissed a Girl" (2008), and she never has stopped churning out the hits. With her infectious smile, sultry sound and adventurous style, Perry's talents have translated well to the video medium as well; she won the 2010 MTV Music Video of the Year Award for "Firework." She's a great live performer (catch her on tour if you can), and that energy comes through in digital motion, too.
She has done so well with her video productions that two different music videos in her career have surpassed two billion views on YouTube: "Dark Horse" and "Roar." That means a lot of people have watched the videos—and they have watched them repeatedly. Perry clearly has mastered the music-video medium, and it's a big reason why she's still going strong almost a decade after her first huge hit.
Here are our choices for the five best Katy Perry music videos; we hope you enjoy watching them (again, probably, and again).
It's hard not to watch this video and chuckle all the way through it, and when an artist doesn't take herself too seriously, this is the kind of gem she can produce. Perry's head gear is classic imagery that is hard to get out of your head after watching the clip just once. Besides, cameo appearances by Darren Criss, Corey Feldman and Debbie Gibson are pretty sweet. The video needs only 21 million more views on YouTube to reach a billion overall.
The visual imagery in this video is just stunning, and that's why we included it on our short list. Perry's costume changes for her live shows are quite famous, but the stuff she dons for this video are out of the world (pun intended, sadly). A lot of credit here has to go to director Floria Sigismondi for creating such a stunning masterpiece of visual art. Released six years ago, the video is approaching 500 million YouTube views.
3. "Waking Up in Vegas"
There's a certain iconic motif that accompanies Sin City, and Perry's video captures it perfectly for a generation of tourists that have gone to Las Vegas—and come back forever changed by the experience. Joel David Moore and his facial expressions really make this video memorable, and getting Penn and Teller to participate was a pure stroke of genius. Even though it's an older video, it's surprising this clip only has 75 million views on YouTube.
The message in this video for all the fans is unmistakable, and that message has such tremendous value. This is the kind of song you sing as loudly as you can in front your mirror, while the video plays behind you—and you emulate every emotion in the song as you sing it to yourself. It's enough to both make the audience cry and celebrate life at the same time. It's quite unique in that sense, powerful enough to help a viewer run the gamut of the emotional spectrum all in four minutes. That's why it has more than a billion YouTube views. The MTV award makes a lot of sense here.
1. "Teenage Dream"
We put this first, because the emotional content of the lyrics is expressed extremely well through the visual images in the video. It's not sending a didactic message like "Firework"—although it is celebrating love in its purest essence. We all remember our youthful innocence, falling head over heels for the first time. Yes, there's a lot of sexual imagery in the video, but it's still tastefully presented—and quite effective at making us remember our own teenage dreams. We're sad it only has 200 million views on YouTube, because it's our favorite Katy Perry video.