Review Summary: Katy’s back and this time she’s naked in candyland dreaming about sexy aliens.
Let’s face the facts; Katy Perry could quite possibly be the hottest pop singer of the modern era. Sure she’s had some pretty ugly, annoying songs in her past, but with her most recent full length album Teenage Dream
she takes a stab at growing up. While the video for “California Gurls” was rather tongue-in-cheek, the rest of her album contains a collective of songs that were actually geared toward artistic thought, not just radio airtime. The singles off of Ms. Perry’s last album were rather stereotypical pop songs; whereas the singles off this album aren’t so typical and actually push the limits of pop in some situations. Teenage Dream
does include some of the same themes, but they aren’t as obvious. The one simple fact about this album versus her previous one is that the songs just aren’t as annoying as they past ones. The beats are solid, lyrics aren’t corny, for the most part, and there was actual time and effort put into it.
The one thing that is easily noticeable about this album is that the beats to the songs seem to be a lot deeper and heavier than normal radio pop songs would be. Some songs have electro, almost a techno/house feel thrown into them to the point where it actually gives Katy some semblance of being an actual artist. “Teenage Dream” starts off the album perfectly even though it seems that her songwriting formula hasn’t changed much. The chorus is sung strong with powerful, strong beats again with that house feel, but keeping from making the music sound as annoying as her previous singles off One Of The Boys
. Another significant change is the increased use of actual instruments in this album. While that might just be mostly a guitar being used in almost every track, it adds tremendemously to the longevity and playability of the albums life. “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)” is more of an upbeat song in vein of “Hot N Cold” that we previously seen on her last album. Its generic format isn’t much to warrant more than a few listens, but the mini jazz solo at the end does add a nice touch to a song that was sort of going downhill.
The biggest single off the album and one of the biggest songs of the year “California Gurls” doesn’t need much introduction or explanation here. Everyone has most likely heard it or seen the video, and if you haven’t, make sure you stop reading here and go watch it immediately. It’s catchy sure, but it’s doesn’t hold a candle to half of the songs on this album when it comes to quality. Remember before when I mentioned that there was thought put into this album and that there might a tingle of artistic thought here? “Firework” is a good representation of that. The aesthetics of the song with the beats, use of stringed instruments, emotionally sung vocals and synth work done here just goes to show that it wasn’t one of the twenty minute radio singles popped out by normal Hollywood standards. Another huge improvement from this album is the direction of her vocals compared to the last album. The singing done on this album is much more emotional, powerful, and actually caring, compared to her debut album which was more bland, pop oriented and generally just made her sound like a dumb blonde.
How could we be without the annoying pop song to make us cringe and skip over? Fear not, it’s present because she wants to take a peek at your “Peacock.” Not that the song is terrible, the lyrics are just terribly corny and sounds bad enough to literally make you laugh aloud. But if that’s your game, let her take a peek. The end of the album does come to a rather fast halt with the rest of the songs made up of ballads. “The One That Got Away”, Who Am I Living For?”, and “Not Like The Movies” are all first-rate ballads, but nothing to take your attention for more than a couple minutes. The last single to be release before the album was released was “E.T.” which was a song written about, and I quote, “hot aliens.” This song is one of the best ones off the album and showcases the house/electro feel of the album the best out of any of the songs. The beats are deep, the lyrics are weird as hell, but it’s definitely one of the best songs that Katy has ever written. “Pearl” is the best of the ballads on the album. There is a hidden abuse theme to it and it’s the one song that’s going to help transition Katy from party girl to legitimate artist in today’s music world.
Love her or hate her, Katy Perry is growing up ladies and gentlemen. She’s spreading her wings and turning into a formidable, respectable artist that she probably always wanted to be. While it took her two albums, borderline lesbianism and an engagement to Russell Brand, it seems that she’s just about there. While this album will probably disappoint a lot of 12 year old girls, it’s going to give her the push in the direction that she needs to go in if she’s going to build off anything besides everyone remembering that she once kissed a girl and liked it.