Sunday 20 October 2013

Katy Perry - Prism

Rihanna had 'Rated R'.  Adele had '21'.  And now Katy Perry has 'Prism', an album that has likewise been inspired by the end of a relationship.

Or has it?  For all Perry's claims this is a stripped back, spiritual and grown-up record, there are still plenty of bubblegum tracks aiming to retain the cartoon persona of 'Teenage Dream'.  The result is an album that falls short, that's often neither serious nor fun.

On the darker end of the spectrum is Dark Horse featuring rapper Juicy J - a hip-hop inspired track that's certainly a more adult pop song.  The icy beat and sinister bass are like nothing we've heard from Perry before, epitomising the pre-release video of Perry burning her blue wig.

The standout track of 'Prism', though, is By The Grace Of God, a ballad that directly addresses Perry's post-breakup depression with the suicidal chorus lyric "I put one foot in front of the other and I looked in the mirror and decided to stay, wasn't gonna let love take me out that way".  It's Perry's most poignant track to date, with a raw vocal that gives us an honest look at the woman behind the popstar.

Despite this push into more adult territory, Perry is still at her best singing pure pop.  Birthday and International Smile might be lyrically vacuous, but the former is an infectious, candy coloured track similar to California Girls, whilst the latter is a glorious homage to Daft Punk's Digital Love with its synth solo outro.  Elsewhere, Walking On Air is a typical, but enjoyable club banger, This Is How We Do is a cool mid-tempo jam and current single Roar marries empowerment with a catchy hook.

The remains of the album wallows in a middle ground that's good but not great, with Perry's attempts at being taken more seriously coming across as a little dull.  Future single Unconditionally is a sincere ballad, but it centres on a clunky chorus lyric, whilst tracks like Ghost, Love Me and Double Rainbow have whispy melodies that fail to stand out.

What 'Prism' is missing is a Firework, a Hot N Cold, an I Kissed A Girl, or a Teenage Dream - all stadium-sized pop sing-alongs that demand your attention.  Roar comes closest, but for the most part this is a new Katy Perry who, with tracks like By The Grace Of God, takes herself more seriously.  A cheeky pair of cake tits wouldn't go amiss.


Gizzle's Choice:
* Birthday
* International Smile
* By The Grace Of God

Listen: 'Prism' is available from October 21st.