In a Songfacts interview with Bonnie McKee
, she explained how she stood her ground creatively among her A-list songwriting colleagues. "We knew the track was special, and we knew the melody was special," she said. "It was kind of an unusual rhythm in the hook, where it was like [singing] you... make... me... It's on the up. You have to be careful about putting the right emPHAsis on the right sylLABle, if you know what I mean, because you can fit anything into a melody like that, but it has to sing naturally. It has to sing the way that you would say it, where the emphasis is on the right place, on the important note in the cadence, the movement, the phrase.
We just couldn't find the right pictures, so we went through so many different versions. One of them was like 'Try Me On,' like a 'dress you up' kind of thing, and it wasn't right. Then there was one about Peter Pan syndrome and never wanting to grow up. We finally just settled on a lackluster B-version of it because we realized we just cannot spend any more time on the song because we have a whole album to make. Then I went away, and I had my 8 Mile
moment where I looked in the mirror and was like, It's time. You are going to find this line!
And then 'Teenage Dream' happened. When I presented it to Katy and Max, everyone was like, Eureka!
Then Katy and I finished the rest of the lyric.
It was just about painting the right picture. When you hear the track it sounds like summertime. It sounds like nostalgia. It sounds a little bittersweet. 'Try Me On' was not going to do that. It had to be something evocative, and we finally hit the nail on the head."