As Katy moves out of introspective mode and starts using imperatives “Let’s go all the way tonight! No regrets! Just love!” she gets straight, more serious, no syncopation. Then—genius—the chorus inverts the weighting that we heard in the verse. [Syncopated:] “You make me [straight:] “feel like I’m living a …” [syncopated:] “teenage dream!” And the gooey heart of the song, the “skin tight jeans” bit, is rhythmically entirely straight, voice tumbling out of the tonic-focused cage of the verse and chorus, like long-hair from a scrunchie released.
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