Katy Perry ostensibly approached her junior album, “PRISM,” the same way most of us approach our junior year – slightly unmotivated, weary and merely waiting to get to the finish line.
The 16-track album begins with the colossal hit “Roar” that has served Perry well in building anticipation for the album. Unlike her previous two albums, “One of the Boys” and “Teenage Dream,” which were jam-packed with single-worthy songs, “Roar” is the only track in the new album that could produce the level of success to which Perry has become accustomed. “Roar” is not an accurate representation of the rest of the album, which is veritably weak.
“Legendary Lovers,” the second track, sets the path to the disjointedness that is “PRISM.” With Middle Eastern vibes that don’t coincide with the rest of the song, the track is anything but legendary and is as unmemorable as it can be.
It gets progressively worse with “Walking on Air” which resembles something that would be played in an ‘80s exercise video. The song does not belong in this millennium. Perry performed the song earlier this month on “Saturday Night Live” with theatrical air blowing her away while donning a schoolgirl costume a la Britney Spears’ “…Baby One More Time” days. The SNL performance foreshadowed the inescapable shift of artistry exposed in the new album – Perry’s seemingly lost her originality.
The latter portion of the album is an improvement to its unimpressive start, but it remains subpar to her earlier work. In “Ghost,” Perry sings of her divorce from Russell Brand: “There’s just an echo where your heart used to be / Now I see it clearly / And there’s just a pillow where your head used to sleep / My vision’s 20/20, I see through you now.” Perry has previously released “Wide Awake” about the demise of her marriage to Brand, and though it was substantially stronger than “Ghost,” the new song manages to convey Perry’s spunkiness.
The last five songs are the only ones capable of redeeming the album. “Double Rainbow” is about new beginnings, “By the Grace of God” is surprisingly inspirational and not as religious as the title suggests and “Spiritual” is melodically pleasing. “It Takes Two” and “Choose Your Battles” have the Perry flair that is noticeably missing from the greater part of the album.
After waiting three years to issue a new album, Perry fittingly sums up the new release best herself in “This Is How We Do” with the line of, “It’s no big deal / this is no big deal.” The quality of Perry’s preceding albums make “PRISM” anticlimactic in comparison. “PRISM” releases Tuesday.
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