It is hard to believe Katy Perry released her last album over three years ago. Surely one of the most successful pop albums of the past decade, “Teenage Dream,” released in August 2010, still has not lost momentum, spinning out single after single, and offering remarkably relatable lyrics like “Pictures of last night ended up online/ I’m screwed/ Oh well,” and “Summer after high school when we first met/ We’d make out in your Mustang to Radiohead” for the young listener.
Between the popularity of “Teenage Dream” and the release of Perry’s documentary “Part of Me,” she has had quite an incredible three years. Yet there were also struggles in the pop star’s life, most notably her brief marriage to actor Russell Brand that ended in confusion and heartbreak.
Thus, “Prism,” Perry’s fourth studio album, features themes of confidence and renewal, and exudes positivity. She rejects passionate love songs in favor of energetic jingles complete with inspirational lyrics. “Roar,” the album’s lead single and first track, as well as Perry’s most successful iTunes debut single to date, communicates this newfound positivity and previews what is to come. It serves as almost an anthem for both Perry and her fans.
“Birthday,” which sounds like a cross between “Call Me Maybe” and Perry’s song “Last Friday Night” is a catchy tune for an upbeat day. Through this song, she insists her listeners to “Make it like your birthday every day/ I know you like it sweet/ So you can have your cake/ Give you something good to celebrate.”
With choruses like “I’m going to love myself the way I want you to /Love me” in “Love Me” and “I am capable of anything/ of anything/ and everything,” in “Dark Horse,” Perry can do no wrong for a young listener on his or her way to a party. Juicy J’s rap sounds fresh on the latter, giving the song an interesting flavor. Perry’s characteristic belt can also be heard on “Unconditionally” and “This Moment.”
“This Is How We Do” demonstrates Perry’s awareness of her young adult audience. Toward the end of the song, she speaks “Shout out to all you kids buying bottle service with your rent money!” This song included, there is a string of relatable lyrics that continue throughout the album.
“Prism” concludes with “By the Grace of God,” the most autobiographical track on the album. It reveals several of the details of Perry’s split from Brand and her faith in God as the one true constant in her life, having been raised in a conservative Christian family. “Was 27 surviving my return of Saturn/ A long vacation didn’t sound so bad/ Was full of secrets locked and tied like iron melting/ Running on empty so out of gas” the song begins. Overall, this passionate story-song provides a deep conclusion to the album.
It is very easy for pop music to sound extremely bland and forgettable, in addition to lacking any real depth. Thankfully, Katy Perry is one pop artist who has not fallen into any of these traps, and continues to write fun and relatable songs. Though she may frequently appropriate lyrics from other songs (“Eye of the Tiger” is the name of a famous 1982 Survivor song and that is just one of many instances), Perry creates a fresh set of tunes in “Prism.” It will be difficult for the album to surpass the success of her predecessor, “Teenage Dream,” but it may very well come close.
RECOMMENDED: “Prism” continues to show Perry’s evolution as one of the best pop artists in music today.