Review Summary: In "Teenage Dream", Katy Perry concocts a host of lines I wouldn't mind her saying to me personally, but in the end feel very generic and unoriginal. It doesn't matter though, she's accomplished the hit CD she set out to make in the first place.
A while ago, I was listening to a female friend of mine rant about her boyfriend. The big thing that annoyed her that she couldn’t understand was why whenever she asked about how he was feeling, he wouldn’t want to answer. But why would a typical guy want to talk about his feelings? I like to blame music artists like Katy Perry for the unrealistic expectations girls today have about guys. Her newest offering “Teenage Dream” fuels this fire, but I’m here to talk about music not complain about my issues.
On one hand, Katy Perry’s lyrics have grown up with the fan base. She’s strayed VERY far from the gospel-rocker she used to be almost a decade ago. “Teenage Dream” is a much raunchier and mature album for her. Instead of ranting about guys’ indecisiveness (Hot ‘N Cold), we get her warning guys that when they measure their dicks in front of her, they better mean business (cue in the ridiculous song “Peacock”). She can pull this off too as easily one of the best-looking music artists in business today. I’ve always had a soft spot for those endlessly smooth silky legs, the way she looks in a bikini, and the ever-changing hair colours; she is allowed to talk like this, and it gives her both a luring and intimidating personality. But at the same time, she still has lyrics talking about finding Prince Charming (the title-track “Teenage Dream”). If you watch the music video for this song, the guy she claims “thinks [she’s] pretty without any make-up on” is actually a ripped scruffy guy with abs who for some reason boxes by himself in the middle of a gym (like we all do that). So now we’re going to have these young girls searching these guys out assuming they are Mr. Perfect. But again, I’m not here to complain.
One of the things I’ve always liked about Katy Perry is how versatile and adaptable she can be. Here, she one-ups herself in ferocity. “Circle The Drain”, a song about her struggles with an ex-boyfriend who was a druggy, sounds angry, something not many pop artists, both male and female, can pull off while staying catchy: “I'm not sticking around to watch you go down.
Wanna be your lover, not your ***ing' mother”. But she offers more touching and sensitive songs as well instead of singing about partying and dancing. I wasn’t a fan of her softer songs in “One of the Boys”, but here the final song “Not Like the Movies” is a highlight, her voice fluctuating high and low with such skill and ease.
But, unfortunately, that is all the good news I can offer. For the most part, the album feels generic and recycled. If you listen very carefully to the song “Peacock”, the part where she sings “Come on baby let me see, what you’re hiding underneath” before the chorus, it is the almost the exact same beat as the intro for her single “California Gurls”. When it’s this easy to discover problems like this, no matter how catchy her music is, it shows little effort.
There is also this continuous problem of her sounding different in songs. Sometimes it’s hard to identify her voice in the tracks here. In “Last Friday (T.G.I.F.)”, the verses are sung in way that sound almost exactly like Karen O from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. In “Peacock”, that line I mentioned before is sung in more of a “Gwen Stefani-style” pouty voice. While many radio listeners could probably identify her voice easily through her singles, I’m sure many of them will be shocked at how different her voice can sound in many of these tracks. If we’re dealing with a third album, a fluctuating voice problem should have been solved a while ago.
In the end, nothing I say will stop Katy Perry from topping music charts for the next couple months (not that I care if she does or not, I’m simply referring to her massive popularity). When she’s on top of her game (ex. Teenage Dream, E.T., Who Am I Living For?) she’s stellar and fits into her newer heavier dance beats comfortably. But like a lot of chart-topping artists, there’s usually filler and generic tracks like “Firework” or “T.G.I.F”. There are also some snooze-fests like “Pearl” and “Hummingbird Heartbeat”. But if you’ve liked her past offerings, you’ll find what you’re looking for here and more. If not, you’ll probably find yourself being the only one at a party not enjoying yourself to this music and if you are proud of that, then good on you. I’m still madly in love with her so she must have done something right.
PS. You can probably say “That’s What She Said” to the first six lines of “Not Like The Movies”. I just couldn’t figure out at first what the heck she was talking about. So...have fun with that.
Circle the Drain
Who Am I Living For?
Not Like The Movies