PRISM: Matured, Mastered, and Multi-Faceted

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Katy Perry’s PRISM just dropped (10 minutes ago) but I have the whole album and the review ready, NOW. In her new album, Perry lives up to the title ‘PRISM’ with a wide range of song topics from sex all the way to suicide. This album packs a 1, 2 punch for the competition this fall and she really lets her audience know what she has been up to. Take a look at the track list and reviews of each song below!

1. Roar. It is no question that Perry rocked the world with the album’s debut track, ‘Roar’. She takes a fresh beat and some strong-willed lyrics to blow open the doors for the rest of her album. Roar encompasses Perry’s personality, power, and pride, all while maintaining that “windows-down-jam-shesh” feeling. She’s focused and isn’t going to let life get in her way.

2. Legendary Lovers. In this slower, ‘Bollywood’-esque track, Perry takes a harder beat, hotter lyrics, and immense sexual-tension to deliver a new sound and unique vibe. Somewhere in between clubbing and sensual, Perry lands this track in a hot mix with everything we love about her: “Take me down to the river / Underneath the blood-orange sun / Say my name like a scripture / Keep my heart beating like a drum”. Definitely a spacier vibe and the most interesting chorus on the album, Perry takes a new approach to her music, revealing another new side we have yet to see. ‘Legendary Lovers’ is definitely a track to look out for on the air waves in the future.

3. Birthday. This track, without question, is that ‘CandyLand’ flare that Perry always has in her album’s. This track gives us the fun pop, dance, and sexiness we look for in her music. With the sassy lyrics, a fun beat, and some wild images, Perry shows us that she still has that sexy part of her, but also knows how to have her fun. A nice combination of ‘California Gurls’ and ‘Peacock’ seem to be what this track was aiming for. She may be growing up, but there will always be that wild side we love. KP “brings out the big balloons” with this track that will be on repeat in your head all day long.

4. Walking on Air. Perry brings back the 90’s clubs and dance moves with this track. Released as the second promotional single from the album, ‘Walking on Air’ encompasses that 90’s euphoric-love while throwing a fun dance-twist to it. Although slightly repetitive and a little shallow, KP lives up to the 90’s vibe and that is all we can ask. This track will have you moving and throwing it back to those Ace of Base and early Britney days.

5. Unconditionally. The second official single off the album, a soaring power ballad, gives the audience a view into Perry and John Mayer’s relationship. Although initially mistakable for her ex, Russell Brand, the slower beat and intimate lyrics run the fans through their relationship, it’s imperfections, and their undying affection for each other. “All your insecurities; all your dirty laundry never made me blink one time”; “there is no fear now, let go and just be free, I will love you unconditionally”. Perry takes her listeners on a journey through her relationship that moves all the way to the heart. Let’s just hope Katy has better character judgment now than she did with Russell Brand.

6. Dark Horse. Released as the first promotional single (but not the second official single) for PRISM, Perry slows it down with a bone-crushing trap beat, and a little bit of rap flare. This track shows Perry, an ice queen in control of her relationships. “Her love is like a drug, I was trying to hit it and quit it, but lil’ mama so dope, I messed around and got addicted”; Despite the meaningless lyrics uttered by Juicy J, the song delivers a unique and high quality dance track that is sure to be a club favorite. Already having dominated the charts, Dark Horse is another track that is going to help this album top the competition.

7. This is How We Do. Described as “the summer song of [2014]” by producers Max Martin and Klas Ahlund, this rocking party anthem gets everyone moving. Shirley Halerpin from the Hollywood Reporter describes it as “a sunny 80s throwback”. With it’s crazy pop blast and hip-hop undertones, ‘This is How We Do’ is sure to be a fan favorite in the months to come. The message, comparable to ‘Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)’ from Perry’s Teenage Dream, will definitely have fans from all ages hooked by the refrain (“this is no big deal”). Be sure to watch out for this massive dance track as the album gains momentum.

8. International Smile. This track seems to have everything we love about the classic Katy Perry. With a funky beat accompanied by a light guitar and a little synth, this track throws us back to the days of ‘Waking Up in Vegas’. The poppy beat and lighthearted lyrics, with a little breathy passion make for a fun track that always promotes a good time. Although not too deep and meaningful, it helps balance out the depth and maturity that is to follow later in the album. ‘International Smile’ is a another reminder that although Perry might be maturing, she is still the classic KP we’ve grown to love.

9. GhostA little unique to her standard style, this reminiscent, hopeless love ballad brings a new element to Perry’s artistry. “Now you’re just a ghost (when I look back I never would have known that)” heads up the chorus and starts the motif of introspection that follows throughout the album. The ‘crossing over’ from sorrow to recovering from shattered relationship with ex Russell Brand comes to fruition through this emotional, mesmerizing ballad. ‘Ghost’ and ‘By the Grace of God’ seem to maintain the bulk of emotion within the album.

10. Love Me. Another song of self-reflection, Perry shows what she has learned from the pain of her divorce. The opening lyric, “I lost myself in fear of losing you” and refrain “I don’t negotiate with insecurities” juxtapose the before and after affects of her lost relationship. This track gives a hint of encouragement, a tone of self-motivation, and a whole lot of self-appreciation. This seems to be Perry’s breakout moment in the album where she really claims her identity and her self-worth. “No more concealing feelings”; “I’m gonna love myself the way I want you to love me”. Throwing caution to the wind, Perry takes a step of faith out into her new maturing womanhood, claiming herself as valid, strong, and worth loving. With the polarized dark lyrics and catchy dance-centric music, this track has potential to woo over eager fans.

11. This Moment. Another mid-tempo ballad, Perry was inspired to write this song after reading the book The Power of Now, but adds a romantic spin to it. This song is all about “living in the now” and loving the person you are with in those moments: “All we have is this moment, tomorrow is unspoken, yesterday is history, so why don’t you be here with me”. Perry loses herself in this light-hearted love scene filled with the emotions of young teenage love and letting go of all worries. Combining the lyrics and the beat, Perry nearly pulls you into this dreamland, feeling and loving each second of the now.

12. Double Rainbow. Described as a “massive ballad” and “breathy love track” by producers Jason Lipshutz and Greg Kurstin, this track has a “chorus that explodes on impact”. Although not my favorite song on the album, it definitely demonstrates Perry’s vocal capability. “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure / so if it’s up to me, I’m gonna keep you forever”: KP lets emotion flow with the sleekness of Kurstin’s staple beats similar to his work with Kelly Clarkson and Sia. She takes her pent-up emotions and transforms them into a strong love ballad with great vocals and a smashing beat. It may not jump out at first, but don’t be surprised if you find yourself immersed in this track after listening to it a few times.

13. By the Grace of God. This is the pinnacle of emotion on all of PRISM. Perry dives right into the pain and grief she experienced after her divorce: “running on empty, so out of gas”; “thought I wasn’t enough, found out I wasn’t so tough laying on the bathroom floor”; “we were living on a fault line, felt like the fault was all mine”. Despite the sorrowful words, Perry overcomes them with “By the grace of God (there was no other way), I picked myself back up (I knew I had to stay)”; “I wasn’t gonna let love take me out that way”; “Now every morning, there is no more mourning, I can finally see myself again”. Connecting her past faith to her current circumstances, Perry brings out a side of her that we have never seen. She eloquently displays her haunting emotions with the accompaniment of a piano and strong vocals. Furthering the theme of introspection, Perry shows how far she had to dig down to find the strength to keep going: “I looked in the mirror and decided to stay”. ‘By the Grace of God’ is definitely the strongest emotional track on the album and would be no surprise if we found it on the radio.

FOLLOWING TRACKS ON DELUXE VERSION ONLY

14. Spiritual. Another breathy love ballad, Perry takes us to dreamland again with her transcendent lyrics. Easily passable, compared to the rest of the album, ‘Spiritual’ is just another love song. “You have opened up my eyes and I am finally healed”: although nothing to write home about, it still speaks to Perry’s reformation from pain to contentment and combines her classic love lyrics.

15. It Takes Two. Unfortunately, not on the standard album, this track personifies Perry’s maturity in a completely new way. With a closely related upbeat to ‘Roar’, Perry shows how far she has come: “I wanna blame you, but I can only blame myself…it’s easy to throw you under the bus or call you crazy while filling my cup”; “It takes two, two sides to every story, not just you, I can’t keep ignoring”; “I admit half of it, I’m not that innocent”. She is quick to claim that her relationship problems with Brand were not all him, and they were not all her; “let me be, the first, baby, to say I’m sorry”. Perry solidifies her message of maturity and introspection with this powerful anthem. Although you won’t find this song on the regular album, it is definitely worth sniffing out and having on your playlist.

16. Choose Your Battles. Another unique, spacey vibe, this track seems a little scattered at the beginning. Perry delivers on this final track with a hard drum beat and strong lyrics about her struggles with relationships. Although it definitely did not jump out at me at first, it is absolutely worth waiting for the chorus: “choose your battles, babe, then you win the war”; “stop digging your own grave with this, so much to live for”; “choose your battles babe, cause I’m not fighting anymore”. Another hint of Perry’s maturity, she is letting go of fighting and struggling against an empty relationship. The album closes with a long fade, leaving us hanging on for more.

PRISM truly lives up to it’s name. Katy Perry delivers unlike ever before on this sexy, strong, and refined album that is sure to keep old fans coming back, while also bringing in a new audience. Artists like Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake, Miley Cyrus, Drake, and Justin Bieber definitely have their work cut out for them if they want to take down this queen of pop. Well done, Katy.

(Photo courtesy of mstarz.com)

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