Written by Katy Perry in collaboration with Bonnie McKee, Dr. Luke, Max Martin, and Cirkut, Roar was released as the lead single from the pop star’s 4th album, Prism. McKee described it to MTV as a “female-empowerment song” with the attitude of “pick yourself up and dust yourself off and keep going”. Perry herself felt that that kind of attitude was what she needed at the time: “I wrote it because I was sick of keeping all these feelings inside and not speaking up for myself, which caused a lot of resentment.”
MTV felt the message was the song’s main strength, calling Roar the “empowerment anthem to end all empowerment anthems” and “five-plus minutes of uplift and inspiration and more mantras than a guru’s guidebook”. LA Times highlighted the “thumping drums” guaranteeing us that they “will incite fist-pumping in cars, dance floors and stadiums”. On the other hand, Slant Magazine were disappointed by the “unmistakable bubble-gum pop center” of the song in contrast with its strong message, describing it as “more of a yelp than a roar”.
Upon release, many critics have noted the similarities between Roar and Sara Bareilles’s Brave. Bareilles herself commented on this by assuring ABC News that she and Perry are “on great terms and there’s no issue there.” Dr. Luke’s response was a tweet stating that “Roar was written and recorded before Brave came out”.