Billboard: PRISM Track-By-Track Review

Katy Perry released her sophomore album, "Teenage Dream," at the age of 25, but the 2010 effort pristinely captured the chirpy buoyancy of youth through gooey synth-pop. There was a reason that "Teenage Dream" spawned a record-tying five No. 1 singles on the Hot 100 -- it was extremely easy for large audiences to relate to Perry's themes of euphoria, independence and summer fun, especially with such a likable figure presenting these topics in the catchiest of forms.

Perry is still championing optimism with super-producers Max Martin, Lukasz "Dr. Luke" Gottwald and Cirkut as her sonic guides -- see her latest chart-topper, "Roar" -- but "PRISM" is also a firm and well-executed step toward adulthood. New single "Unconditionally" trades in the idealistic love of "Teenage Dream" for a romance more realistic and reliable; elsewhere, Perry evokes her recent divorce ("Ghost") and its personal effects ("By The Grace of God") with slowed-down guitar hooks and thoughtful piano strikes. While the first half of "PRISM" flashes an array of sonic and lyrical colors, hopping from disco ("Walking on Air") to rap ("Dark Horse") to sumptuous pop-rock ("International Smile"), the second half feels more lived-in, with Perry patiently discussing her battles with hopeless relationships, struggles to understand herself and attempts to live for the moment in a whirlwind reality. These songs are not the bubblegum summer smashes of a California Gurl, but something much deeper from an artist striving to tell her full story.

"PRISM" has its share of candy-colored fun, but also something else: more detail in its tempered shades. With a string of hit singles under her belt, Perry has aspired to create a multi-faceted full-length and has consummately succeeded

"Love me, no more second guessing"Collapse )

the album of the millennium tbh
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