Review Summary: Bow down to the Clowness of Pop
Katy Perry was always been in the wrong horizon. Possessing relatively good creative intentions, this artist recorded an album about teenage life with a raid of unforgivable vulgarity. In parallel with this, she mixed different styles and received a frankly ordinary product in a subsequent release. If "Prism" was an attempt to become a more mature and respected artist, then the subsequent "Witness" destroyed a carefully built house of cards. The fall was so unexpected and painful that it seems that an angel from the Pop Olympus broke both wings.
Inspired by loneliness and social uncertainty, the therapeutic "Witness" turned out to be amazingly monotonous. The album, which resembled an interfering recording of a session with a psychotherapist, raised the question of what will happen next with Katy Perry. Only "Chained to the Rhythm" won a share of respect from that long-suffering work - the ode to political activism, released as the protest soundtrack for the previous U.S. presidential election, turned out to be more relevant this year than ever.
Almost everything related to "Witness" were repulsive, despite the fact that the product as a whole turned out to be creatively sustained. The singer freed herself from the shackles of a carefully verified chart-topping strategist and began to release everything that the soul would like. The artist's internal doubts are generated by "Smile" - her first release in three years and an attempt to wake up after the nightmare that her life was in the shadow of the previous album.
The album opens with the song "Never Really Over," which does not leave indifferent. This is a clunky, inspired by a ticking ASMR pulse (unexpected combination), telling about the power of reunification, which, according to the singer, connects people in time. There are several reasons to consider this song the best in the singer's catalog. There is not a single lyrical moment in the song, which makes you squeeze your nose. The exciting tone of keyboards reminds us about an immortal hit "Baba O'Riley" of The Who
Dancing in the dark through self-healing is the emotional anchor of this album. So, "Cry About It Later" is a encouraging and confident code of French house. Perry's vocals here sound muted and intimate, which adds charm to the dance anthem about unrequited love. "Teary Eyes" resembles an exotic dish, where there are a lot of spices, the taste of which cannot be understood from the first time. You want to listen to a song many times in order to realize your attraction to it. This is the hypnotic atmosphere of the track, despite its simplicity and open straightforwardness of the arrangement. In terms of trends, this is a nostalgic mix from the 2000s and you will feel it inside that you are transferred to the past time when club hits broke radio waves. Both songs are quite similar, almost like twins, but this does not limit them to be complementary and successful from a lyrical point of view.
Among such strong songs was the affirmative ballad "Resilient," the dramatic orchestration of which is able to bring clouds over its head. It seems that someone can really become a barrier to your path ("Yeah, they tried to poison the water/But I was a little stronger"), as the singer sings in the track. Perry continues to leave the usual tiresome fireworks and animals metaphors for the life-affirming urban-sticky "Not the End of the World" - the artist pragmatically and chants out that despair is not the way out, life continues with every step we take.
The acoustic part of the album deserves special attention, as a very harmonious vibe to the dance part of the record. If "Harleys in Hawaii" is a compromise island track, dating back to the R&B music of the late eighties. "What Makes a Woman" is a great, perfectly made country-talk about femininity and devotion to its principles. Perry has made references to the theme of following the dream before, but it is in this track that she manages to show her wisdom ("I feel most beautiful doing what the *** I want").
On the album, the singer repeatedly quotes the greats. "Never Worn White" is a galvanic soft ballad in the spirit of Phil Collins
, from the category of wedding bells, when everyone looks at the dance of the newlyweds and wipes away a tear from their eyes. If she were a little more dynamic, she would definitely get into the soundtrack for the potential sequel to Wedding Planner. On another coquettish banger "Tucked," she begs not to hide our sexual fantasies and completely takes us to the epicenter of the reign of Bee Gees
, when disco was considered deeply underground entertainment.
As a result, we get "Smile" – an unexpectedly humble and mature work, which behind a funny cover carries something more than everyday clowning.