Rated: 18+ · Book · Biographical · #1399999
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WDC 48-Hour Challenge: Media Prompt | Prompt ▼
I was trying to think of something to write for this month's media prompt about this song and instead of doing a short story or writing about how the song makes me feel, I thought it would be more interesting to write about some behind-the-scenes information about the song itself.
If you're familiar with the Rewatchables podcast, it's a podcast where the hosts rewatch classic (and not-so-classic) movies and, with the benefit of hindsight, answer questions like "Who won the movie?" and "For whom was this movie the apex mountain of their career?" and things like that. One of the sections they have in the podcast is called "Half-Assed Internet Research" and that's exactly what this is.
I have no idea if any of this is actually true because I didn't work on the song, but according to my own half-assed internet research, I discovered the following:
The song was inspired at least in part on Jack Kerouac's On the Road. The line "'cause baby you're a firework / come on, show 'em what you're worth / make 'em go awe, awe, awe" is based on Kerouac's line "burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes 'Aww!'"
In the interests of full disclosure though, the most interesting part of the inspiration anecdote, as she relayed to Billboard in an interview is that it was combined with "this very morbid idea... when I pass, I want to be put into a firework and shot across the sky over the Santa Barbara Ocean as my last hurrah," she said. "I want to be a firework, both living and dead."
The song is most familiar to people with the lyrics as, "You just gotta ignite the light / And let it shine / Just own the night / Like the Fourth of July," but that last line was originally "like a firefly" which Perry wrote because she thought that fireflies remind her of fireworks every time she sees them at night. But enough people kept misquoting the song that Perry eventually changed the lyrics and now sings it as "Like the Fourth of July" herself at concerts because she thinks it's a better fit and thematically works with the imagery of the song a little better.
The one thing she didn't change the lyrics on was the "make 'em go awe, awe, awe" line. Many people misattribute it as "up, up, up" or "ah, ah, ah" including her fellow American Idol judge, country music star Luke Bryan to whom she specifically said, "It's not up, up, up and it's not ah, ah, ah. It's awe, awe, awe. A-W-E. It's awe, awe, awe everybody, get it right!"
The song recently became relevant again quite recently, not for it's popularity but for the politics. When Roe v. Wade was overturned, Perry tweeted "'Baby you're a firework' is a 10 but women in the US have fewer rights than an actual sparkler smh" which, you know, would have been fine if not for the fact that just a few weeks prior she endorsed Rick Caruso in the Los Angeles mayoral race, a billionaire developer who - while running as a Democrat - has a long, long history of supporting conservatives and anti-choice candidates. In the words of Twitter user @KayTeeeOh, "Girl you endorsed Rick Caruso maybe sit this one out"
Hope you've enjoyed this little half-assed internet research details about the song!