New Katy Perry album offers a hit with every song
By Shawn Gakhal
Sometimes image can cloud one’s perception of an artist. Exhibit A: Katy Perry.
She used to be a gospel singer and released her debut album, “Katy Hudson” (her real name, too) in 2001 to little fanfare. She then came roaring back in 2008 with a new image — via more skin showing and an hourglass figure— and her collective sexiness ramped up to the heavens.
Her sophomore album, the secular “One Of The Boys,” was released, and from it emanated the image known as Katy Perry.
She enjoyed tremendous success with “I Kissed A Girl” and “Waking Up In Vegas,” which became more than just firebrand singles — they were part of the pop culture lexicon.
“Teenage Dream,” her third album, was released in 2010 with a barely clad Perry lying seductively on the album art, further promoting her image and brand. More chart-topping singles followed—the most famous being the over-the-top “California Gurls,” which included a cameo from Snoop Lion (then Snoop Dogg) for some reason.
Anyway, all of this is to say that Perry is a legitimately talented artist, which isn’t the first thing we think of when we hear her name or see it plastered all over tabloids. If you can forget all of the celebrity and her short-lived marriage to British comedian Russell Brand—we all want to forget that ever happened—you’d realize she, actually, has a great voice.
Her latest album “PRISM” showcases her vocal prowess and stands as a collection of sugary pop songs that will make you feel like it’s summer all over again.
“Roar” starts the album with a bang, which is no surprise, given the song title. The song, about self-empowerment, is the singer’s eighth number-one single, and it’s easy to see why.
Catchy chorus? Yes. Trademark Perry howl? Yes.
“Legendary Lovers” starts with a sitar-sounding instrument cloaked in reverb, followed by a dark synth line. Considering her recent divorce with Brand, listeners could wonder if this song is about him.
“Birthday” might be the best song on “PRISM.” The beat is simple and insanely infectious, as lush keyboards pervade the jovial atmosphere of the song. It’s a future Billboard number-one hit, for sure.
One of the highlights of the song occurs halfway in the breakdown, which prominently features reflective synths, as the song’s pace slows down for a fleeting moment.
In “Walking On Air,” Perry aims for a ’90s house vibe, as the song feels like it just stepped out of a time machine.
When listening to “Unconditionally,” it almost feels like this song will be heavily remixed by trance producers in the future — it’s just too perfect to not be.
The bass line in the song is intense and is one of the better ballads on “PRISM.” The stuttered drumming really adds to the song’s depth, as it opts to avoid incorporating electronic beats, which is usually common in Perry’s discography.
Perry roars on the chorus, saying, “I will love you unconditionally,” amidst whirling, nostalgic synth movements.
“Dark Horse” features Juicy-J and is a club-stomper, sure to cause chaos on the dance floor. Stylistically, the song does feel a little out of place compared to the rest, though.
“This Is How We Do” and “International Smile” are bright, ’80s throwback songs to an era that seems more musically relevant than ever, now.
“Double Rainbow” is another massive romantic ballad that seems tailor made to play in the background of TV dramas.
“PRISM” is a promising next step in Perry’s career. While some of the themes and lyrics can seem cliché, they do appear to be honest and earnest. There are few songs that are fillers, and that’s saying a lot for a mainstream singer.
When Perry hits on her songs, they are just fantastic. Every song on the album could, conceivably, pass as a single, which is a testament to Perry’s songwriting and the slick production evident in “PRISMS.”
If you’re into melodic and charismatic pop songs that you may want to dance to, go out and pick up “PRISM,” and enjoy.
I give this album an A.