Thursday, October 17, 2013

Track By Track Album Review: Katy Perry - Prism

Katy Perry's 3rd full length EP leaked in full, and will hit US store shelves Tuesday, October 22nd. The album holds a 61 on Metacritic, which means it has generally favorable reviews (much more than what could be said about her two previous albums). But how does it fair here at Critic of Music?

Roar: Yes, it is still the same Sara Bareilles rip-off we heard 2 months ago. At least she sounds good on it (Plenty of solid C5s and Eb5s). C-

Legendary Lovers: Starting off with a sitar to kick off this mysterious creation, Katy shows off semi-rapping style in the verses. Obviously her Indian wedding influenced her here, as some more diverse styles can be seen here. It's the closest thing to an artistic identity we've ever seen from Perry, exciting! B+

Birthday: Bruno Mars would be proud of this post-disco funk sound. It's very fun, catchy, and begging for a phenomenal music video. However, that sexually charged bridge makes an otherwise universally enjoyable song lose the appeal. A-

Walking on Air: If this doesn't become the national anthem for drag queens everywhere, there is something not quite right with the world. Katy said that she wanted to bring back massive euro-dance hits with this track, and she hit it spot on here. A

Unconditionally: The first ballad has arrived at track No.5. Katy sounds much more empowered here than she does on Roar, which is saying quite a lot. She's fierce, so fierce in fact, you could be convinced that she stole Sasha Fierce from Beyoncé just for the purpose of this song. Whatever she's doing, Unconditionally is evidence that it is working very well. A

Dark Horse (Feat. Juicy J): Are we absolutely sure Katy makes pop music? Because she pulls off this sexy trap masterpiece very well. As addictive as the bass drop is, she should've lead those beautiful harmonies in the pre-chorus (the ascending "ah's") somewhere darker, or utilized them for more than 15 seconds. A

This is How We Do: In three words: Overproduced and immature. C-

International Smile: Some "Cosmopolitan" girl with "an international smile?" Who is she? And why did she inspire this album filler? B-

Ghost: "But you hit send / and disappeared in front of my eyes" Did you hear that one Russell Brand? Katy delivers some fairly teenage lyrics with the heartbreak of a grown woman. However, it's still an uptempo power ballad, with more hope than heartbreak. The production is just too weak and too unusual to be worthy of Katy's delivery here. B

Love Me: It has some sort of ambiguous charm for whatever reason, but it is simply drowned out from the rest of the album thanks to its lackluster production. C+

This Moment: Katy clearly took a liking to Robyn while they were on tour together, as the Dancing on My Own production riff is blatantly there. Her vocals sound more stripped compared to the other tracks, which unfortunately makes her quite shrill. C+

Double Rainbow: Finally, we've made the segue out of mediocre album fillers. With a title like "Double Rainbow," one wouldn't expect a drum-lead ballad, rather some massive Walking on Air sibling. But "Double Rainbow" holds its own, using an interesting natural metaphor for a relationship. It's good, not great, but good. B+

By The Grace of God: Another divorce inspired track, Katy leaves so much room for a beautiful ballad, with its stunning beginning piano-line and heartfelt lyrics, but she tries to make it a pop song, and that is what makes it lose its authenticity. She was on to something astonishing, but its betrayed by a poppy chorus. Look forward to piano only versions of this track. B-

Prism is easily better than the horrifically overrated Teenage Dream, but now that we've seen how close she can get to true artistry, there's a sour taste leftover from the album. She comes so close to powerful artistry, but then chooses to play it safe. There is a real artist lying underneath, and Prism comes so close to casting light on that artist, but close only counts in horseshoes and nuclear warfare, not music. That's not to say Prism is bad, but Perry can still do better.

Vocals: B+
Lyrics: B
Production: B
Overall: B-