Music reviews for Oct. 24, 2013
Katy Perry, “Prism”
Katy Perry's “Teenage Dream” was perfect pop pleasantry, full of back-to-back hits that were oh-so-fun and addictive, fused with humor, emotion and a hint of edge.
Perry has some of that energy on “Prism,” her third album, which comes three years after her pop star breakthrough. But she lacks some of the fiery fierceness and excitement that dominated “Teenage Dream.” The singer's new electro-pop songs are likable, but she's playing it safe. “Prism” is Perry as plain Jane.
The California girl, who turns 29 on Friday, is now singing self-help anthems and about recovering from her 2011 divorce from comedian-actor Russell Brand. The songs, though, don't drip with emotion and she rarely gets deep. The Sia-penned “Double Rainbow” and “By the Grace of God,” slow grooves that close the album, don't really scratch the surface.
“Prism” was primarily written and produced with her frequent collaborators and hitmakers, Max Martin, Dr. Luke and Bonnie McKee. But they don't always bring out the best Perry: “International Smile” is cheesy and “Legendary Lovers” is forgettable. Even “Roar,” the eighth No. 1 hit for Perry, lacks swag.
Her team fares better on the sultry and upbeat “Birthday” and “Dark Horse,” featuring rapper Juicy J, which works thanks to its mesh of Southern hip-hop and electronic flavors.