Katy Perry – Prism
Katheryn Hudson didn’t have any trouble with ‘second album syndrome’ when releasing her (major-label) sophomore album in 2010, Teenage Dream. It has sold 5.5 million copies worldwide, and despite a lack of Grammy awards, Katy Perry is back again with Prism. And why change a formula that clearly worked before? Dr. Luke and friends are back on production duties, creating an album that feels like a natural follow up to its predecessor.
You don’t feel like you’re joining a cult to become a fan of Katy Perry, and I’d agree with other critics that there’s a sense of vulnerability in the lyrics, especially in ballad and new single ‘Unconditionally’. ‘Birthday’ feels like the continuation of ‘Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)’, and other uplifting dance-pop tracks such as ‘This is How We Do’, ‘Roar’, ‘International Smile’ and ‘Walking On Air’ are all fun and extremely listenable; while not achieving anything new sonically, they work really well to help form a cohesive body throughout the album. ‘Dark Horse’, which features a verse from rapper Juicy J, is an interesting inclusion. The influence of Trap is clear in the composition of the song and is the only real risky, experimental track on the album. If there was a low point in the album, it would have to be ‘Double Rainbow’, which is mainly down to the contrived lyrics, and ‘This Moment’. ‘Double Rainbow’ strikes me as something co-writer Sia has been trying to give to a pop star for a while.
Prism, overall, is a solid and relatively cohesive album which can only continue the upward trajectory that Perry’s career has been on over the last few years. It captures the current trends in pop music but still manages to stand out in an ever-crowded market, thanks to some clever production and a measure of authenticity. It feels like only a matter of time until these tracks and the rest of her discography are heard at stadiums, rather than arenas.
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