Review Summary: Katy's third album is a mixed bag of catchy tunes and boring listens
If you haven’t heard of Katy Perry or her newest album, Teenage Dream
, then you might want to remove yourself from under the rock you have been residing beneath. From the summer anthem “California Gurls”, to the airy rocker “Teenage Dream”, Perry’s music has been all over the airwaves. For all the hype generated by the singles, the question is: does the rest of the album stack up? The answer is both yes and no.
The album starts off with the title track, “Teenage Dream”, which is a good introduction to what makes Perry’s music irresistible. The combination of catchy beats, well-placed guitars, and the talented vocals of miss Perry herself. Being mostly a fan of metal, I wouldn’t normally delve into the world of radio pop, but there’s something so intriguing about most of Katy Perry’s music that I love. This song is a fine example of what makes me turn away from my As I Lay Dying and Underoath to indulge in radio friendly pop.
As I make my way through the album it seems to me that Teenage Dream
is very hit and miss. The first half of the album, encompassing “California Gurls”, “Last Friday Night”, “Firework”, and the after mentioned “Teenage Dream” is very solid, and it’s no wonder that most of these songs are the ones sent to radio stations across the country. I’d like to put particular attention on “Firework”. This song is my highlight of the album, with Perry’s best vocal performance, music that suits the song, and lyrics that go outside of the usual “party till you puke” style of radio pop. Although Perry tries to duplicate this sense of mature lyrics and music in later songs like “Pearl” and “Who Am I Living For?”, these tracks just aren’t as interesting, and only Perry’s solid vocal work prevents them from being total duds.
This brings me to the crux of Teenage Dream’s
problem: There are too many dud tracks to make this a solid album, and this brings down the quality of the album as a whole. Tracks like “Peacock”, and “Circle the Drain” suffer from their inane lyrics and general lack of musical sensibility. While other tracks like “Pearl”, “Who Am I Living For”, and “E.T.”, generally failed to leave me humming the song after my listen. “Hummingbird Heartbeat” saves the second half of the album, but this is a very top-heavy album.
Your judgment on this album will come down to how intriguing Perry’s vocals are to your ears. If you absolutely love her voice, then pick up Teenage Dream
, as you will not be disappointed; but if you only like her for her catchy songs, then stick to getting the singles and you will be content.