Monday, October 21, 2013

Prism | Katy Perry

Rating: ★★★☆☆

After almost two years of milking out the Teenage Dream and one year of a musical hiatus, Katy Perry is back with Prism, and album meant "to beam [...] light out through [the] songs to all [Katy Perry's] fans," retracting her previous statement that the album was going to be "real fucking dark."

The "fucking dark" statement was completely thrown out the window with the release of the lead single, "Roar," yet another cheap self-empowerment anthem that covers itself with a metaphor comparing people to tigers. The song's beat was a carbon copy of Sara Bareilles' "Brave" and left a sour taste in my mouth for the remainder of Prism.

However, the follow-up single to "Roar" puts the album in a better light; "Unconditionally" is a power ballad that actually shines in the track-listing. The chorus is sure to be a killer on the radio, with Perry belting out "Unconditional, unconditionally / I will love you unconditionally / There is no fear now / Let go and just be free." The lyrics aren't anything to spectacular; they're on par with any other pop ballad out there, but the song is nice sounding. I love the studio track and those belts in the chorus, however, given Perry's track record in live performances, "Unconditionally" will be completely be butchered live.

Fans and casual listeners alike have all been buzzing over "Legendary Lovers" ever since it appeared on Perry's SoundCloud account with the rest of the Prism tracks; it has the most listens of all of the tracks from the album on the streaming site. Being the most diverse of the tracks, "Legendary Lovers" carries the spiritual sound that critics have been noting, going as far as breaking down into a tribal drum solo during the bridge.

Sitting at tracks number three and four, respectively, "Birthday" and "Walking On Air" draw influences from previous decades; "Birthday" is infused with sounds of 1990s bubblegum-pop, while "Walking On Air" goes for vibes of 1980s pop tracks. I feel like these two tracks in particular are the most exciting of the track listing, because they have the biggest choruses of them all and have the most prominent throwback sounds of them all.

The glazing problem I found with the entirety of Prism is that it is extremely evident that she didn't work very far outside of her small group of producers on the album; a lot of the sounds and concepts are used over and over again. The dream team of disposable pop music, Dr. Luke and Max Martin, touched nearly 75% of the songs on Prism, either through production or song-writing credits. Many talented producers can get away with producing an entire album without making it too repetitive, but we're talking about Dr. Luke and Max Martin here...

The other big issue I have with the album doesn't pertain to the music, but rather than album cover... Katy, what were you thinking? Leading up to the release of the album, Perry was using this fancy triangle emblem to promote Prism, which looks awesome. Then, she decided to put that on the back-burner to release the messy album cover, which I can't even completely describe. Her face isn't even completely visible thanks to the terrible white-balance from the sun, the flower-filled frame around her portrait looks cheap, and, worst of all, the interesting triangle logo makes no appearance. 

Taking all of the advantages and disadvantages into play, Prism relies on being a simple pop album; no more and no less. People have be begging to compare it to Perry's previous release, but it is not a step forward or a step backward from Teenage Dream. They are equals in the aspect that they're fun to listen to, but there's no real substance to back anything up. Many of the songs are all about love, but I don't feel like she even had a specific subject to sing about, just love in general.

But of course, people are going to love the album either way because it sounds nice, not because it has a giant hidden message behind it all. In short, is it worth a trip to Target and $11.99? Probably. Is it worth a Grammy nomination? Probably not.

No comments

Post a Comment

© Aural Fixation