KP remembers back when, behind closed doors, she bit her tongue, held her breath, and agreed politely despite the interior angst she felt.

The praise-the-lord hands stand in for the (“HEY!”) at the end of the verses. The grey-to-yellow mouse transition illustrates “brushing off the dust.” And the woman with the arms posed in a large X in front of her face? That’s KP threatening her man with a big double karate chop: “watch out ‘cuz I’ve had enough.”

Every emoji story--every story, really--benefits from a dancer lady. Here she is plus i plus NG as "dancing." Note how easy it is to actually push her dancing "through the fire" in emoji. In the video they lamely fell back on emoji dancing girls+"through the" in words+emoji fire.

As many times as it repeats in the song, inversely the “Oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh” chorus does not even appear in emoji in the video. I think even Katy Perry's team of emoji-makers recognized the visual (arguably songwriting) dead-end here.

Here I went with “caterpillar soon” (instead of cheating with a handmade butterfly addition to the emoji set) and cat-into-tiger for “earned my stripes.”

I kept the cat a cat instead of turning it into a lion. Because that’s against the rules, and KP is louder than it anyway.

“Oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh...”

Pretend you can hear this part:
I got the eye of the tiger, a fighter, 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/

But it's really just more “Oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh.”

Oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh ohhhhkaaay.

Co.Design

Emoji Major No. 8: An Emoji Upgrade For Katy Perry

Oh, the Katy Perry crimes against emoji! This week, Zoe Mendelson offers a way to make the video really "Roar."

The emoji video for Kitty Purry ‘s song "Roar" (see it and lyrics below), which spent most of September in the #1 Billboard spot, came out just before Emoji Major No. 1 but long after I had already become an emoji-obsessive. News of it excited me: Finally, some A-list recognition for the E-medium! But the video itself left me disheartened and puzzled. How did they manage to make emoji so...boring?

And I can’t forgive them for other crimes against emoji: Altering the existing set and making their own is just not creative and just not cool. The whole fun of using such a strange and finite set of symbols to communicate comes from the limitations! Team KP, for example, took the liberty of introducing a completely nonexistent butterfly—to which my answer, working with actual emoji, is "caterpillar soon":


Now I’m floating like a butterfly/
Stinging like a bee I earned my stripes/
I went from zero, to my own hero

In fact, animals—in which emoji excel—seem to be an issue here. They also made a lion of a mouse. I say let it remain a mouse, especially when trying to communicate that you’re louder than it. Rather that accepting emoji challenges, they even resort to writing out lines in words, like "I guess I forgot I had a choice." Talk about mousiness. Come on, guys, try! Roar!

It's like they're just using Google Translate for a large block of text. Too literal and obvious and you lose not only the art form, but the basic message. For example, in the first—and only—verse of the song, for "used to bite my tongue," the emoji sequence in the video is peace sign (for two/too) and a grinning face (for bite?), and then the tongue. The storytelling result looks more like a stoned hippy emoji advocating dropping acid than a stifled young woman who hasn’t yet learned to speak her mind.

So this week I bring you my Roar redux—see the complete slide show above. It's all in emoji and only those provided in the set. It was a fun and easy emojification project, especially because the song has so little substance. There's that one verse, then a chorus that repeats and repeats. I think they knew what a visual jo-o-ooo-oo-ooooke it is; they skipped it in emoji in the video.

Maybe A-list emoji are still in their larval stage, and I should be more forgiving. We can only hope for caterpillar soon.

For "Roar" reference, here's the video. Lyrics below.

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

You held me down, but I got up (HEY!)
Already brushing off the dust
You hear my voice, you hear that sound
Like thunder gonna shake the ground
You held me down, but I got up (HEY!)
Get ready cause I’ve had enough
I see it all, I see it now

[Chorus]
I got the eye of the tiger, a fighter, 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
Oh oh oh oh oh oh
Oh oh oh oh oh oh
You’re gonna hear me roar

Now I’m floating like a butterfly
Stinging like a bee I earned my stripes
I went from zero, to my own hero

You held me down, but I got up (HEY!)
Already brushing off the dust
You hear my voice, you hear that sound
Like thunder gonna shake the ground
You held me down, but I got up (HEY!)
Get ready ’cause I’ve had enough
I see it all, I see it now

[Chorus]
I got the eye of the tiger, a fighter, 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
Oh oh oh oh oh oh
Oh oh oh oh oh oh
You’re gonna hear me roar
Oh oh oh oh oh oh
Oh oh oh oh oh oh
You'll hear me roar
Oh oh oh oh oh oh
You're gonna hear me roar...

Ro-oar, ro-oar, ro-oar, ro-oar, ro-oar

I got the eye of the tiger, a fighter, 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
Oh oh oh oh oh oh
Oh oh oh oh oh oh
You’re gonna hear me roar
Oh oh oh oh oh oh
Oh oh oh oh oh oh
You'll hear me roar
Oh oh oh oh oh oh
You're gonna hear me roar...

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