This big power ballad was released as the second single from Prism
, and was the follow-up to "Roar
"It's a love song and it's different from 'Roar' - it's not eighth-notey," said Perry. "I think it's a universal love song that everyone's going to be able to relate to no matter the age, no matter male or female. It's my favorite song off the record."
Perry penned this ode to falling in love with Swedish hitmaker Max Martin, American producer Dr. Luke and Canadian songwriter Cirkut. The same trio also contributed to "Roar." During a discussion at the 2013 ASCAP "I Create Music" Expo in Los Angeles, Perry said as a team they have certain strengths. "With Max, it's melody choices," she said "Luke is production and I'm topline and melody."
The song finds Perry singing about looking past her beau's flaws and loving him for who he is. "There is no fear now... I will love you unconditionally," she belts over woodblock percussion and a dramatic bass line. It is one of two tracks on Prism that were inspired by Perry's boyfriend John Mayer— the other one being the Deluxe edition bonus track "It Takes Two."
The song's lyric video was helmed by photographer, screenwriter and director Aya Tanimura, who is a member of Mensa. It features a lesbian couple who are played by models Janell Shirtcliff and Erika Linder.
Perry spoke about the song's meaning during an interview with KIIS FM. She explained: "Not only is it about those different varieties of loves, it's about when you are in love with someone and there's full acceptance. The highs and the lows. All the flaws. The zits. The smells. The whole gamet, you know? Sometimes I remember being scared to be accepted in relationships and I know that everybody else goes through that and, 'Will they love my true self? Will they love all the things that I do when nobody's looking?"
Perry added: "You know because we are weirdoes. We pick our nose and we make disgusting noises with our body and we're not always the most presentable things but someone's gotta love us and it's about that unconditional love. It's about that high, almost spiritual type of love."
Perry felt inspired to pen the song as a result of a visit to Madagascar with UNICEF. She decided to write lyrics about what it means to care for someone in the purest form. "We live in such a world that is run by social status and material possession, and it can get really overwhelming and tiring to keep up with that - people are actually turned on by the amount of likes they have; it's crazy that our minds think that way these days," Perry explained.
"And so I went to the top of this mountain, I saw all these children, and the love that they had towards each other, they had no idea what Twitter or Facebook or any of that stuff was, they didn't care about it," she continued. "It was this unconditional love between all of them. It was that kind of pure love that's unaffected by the trends of the world."
Perry singled out this as her favorite Prism track as it passed the "goose bump test." She explained to MTV News: "There's this test that I do in the studio, after a song's complete and you've tracked some vocals. It's kind of like the goose bump test. If, every time you hear it, it gives you goose bumps, it's hitting a chord inside of you that's really important,. It's an emotional chord inside of you."
"I love this song because not only can it be a romantic, intimate song, but it can be about the type of love that a mother has when she sees her first child, or best friends or partners," Perry added. "It's a transcendent love, it's not just relationship status."
The Brent Bonacorso directed video is centered around an elegant Renaissance-era ball. The clip explores the impact of love using dramatic imagery and was influenced by such films as Dangerous Liaisons and Anna Karenina. "It doesn't have a complete narrative. I do that all the time; I usually have quite a big story line," Perry told MTV News. "This time I wanted to give a lot of gorgeous, beautiful looks, which I don't usually go for. But it's mostly just a beautiful video that is supposed to evoke this power of love."
Bonacorso explained to MTV News how he attempted to capture the song's lyrical concepts in the video. "When she sings this song she doesn't sing it lightly. This love that she speaks of is like a force of nature, epic storm and a tempest, and that's definitely something I wanted to capture," he said, adding that he wanted to capture a "more mysterious, elegant and sophisticated world to live in... less about a time period and more about creating an impression and a feeling."
That "feeling" is expressed using various images, including a car crash, which is a visual metaphor for the power of true love. "One of the key images that I think was pivotal in the video and just a very important concept to me. I once described the experience of falling in love like being hit by a car; suddenly your world is just so violently and dramatically changed. It hits you out of the blue," Bonacorso explained. "I shared this with Katy and she really loved that concept and really identified with it immediately, that she felt the same way."