Katy Perry doesn’t care what anyone thinks in the adamant “Roar.”
Colorful beats open the single, setting a contented tone. Her best friend liked to repeat whatever negative comments were said by other people she knew back to Perry. Her best friend was told by her other friends that Perry was weird. But the friend would totally stick up for her and tell her other friends it wasn’t true. She let her boyfriend dictate their plans. There were always reasons to not say something: she would lose the friends she did have, she would sound stupid, or there was somewhere else better to go. But after missing out on her favorite team winning the championship because “it was too far” (according to the boyfriend) and opting for the usual weekend fare of retro video games, she couldn’t handle it anymore. She was who everyone else wanted her to be without any opinions of her own. (“I used to bite my tongue and hold my breath/Scared to rock the boat and make a mess/So I sat quietly, agreed politely/I guess that I forgot I had a choice/I let you push me past the breaking point/I stood for nothing, so I fell for everything.”)
In the pre-chorus, she told her supposed best friend that insult updates were no longer needed and neither was she. She broke up with her boyfriend, stating she wanted to be in a relationship where her input mattered. Both of their jaws dropped and they gave her a fight. For the first time, she fought back. (“You held me down, but I got up/Already brushing off the dust/You hear my voice, your hear that sound/Like thunder, gonna shake your ground/You held me down, but I got up/Get ready cause I’ve had enough/I see it all, I see it now.”)
In the chorus, people will be shocked to see her eyes flash as they listen to her voice rise. It took her a long to believe it but she is good enough. She references the Rocky theme by Survivor “Eye of The Tiger.” (“I got the eye of the tiger, the fire, dancing through the fire/Cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me roar/Louder, louder than a lion/Cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me roar/Oh oh oh oh oh oh/You’re gonna hear me roar.”)
Now, she lives by the Muhammed Ali adage “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” She has her boundaries. There are things that tick her off. However, if people start insulting her, it will provoke her to stand up for herself. She’s not the meek person she used to be. She asked a sweet guy she liked for a while (who is her current boyfriend) and she has a new circle of friends who support her. (“Now I’m floating like a butterfly/Stinging like a bee I earned my stripes/I went from zero, to my own hero.”)
The pre-chorus and chorus are sung again.
In the bridge, she repeats the word “roar” three times.
The chorus ends the single.
Perry’s restrained, tranquil vocals are brimming with self-confidence, as she sees herself reflected in a positive light. She’s now a friend to herself. The overused Rocky/Survivor reference is gven an update. It fits naturally into the context of the single’s theme. With Perry’s earnest delivery of the phrase, she turns it into an empowering motto.
The modest “Roar” prowls with a steady gaze, releasing the heavy burden of not being enough with an effortless shake.