Katy Perry's new album 'Prism': Track-by-track review
Katy Perry is ready to share the light she has found with her new album "Prism."
Following the monster success of her 2010 sophomore album "Teenage Dream," which earned Perry six Grammy nominations including Album of the Year and yielded five Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 singles, including "California Gurls," "Teenage Dream," "Firework," "E.T.," and "Last Friday Night," the anticipation for the singer to deliver on "Prism" was high -- and she succeeded.
After embarking on a year-long world tour as documented in her 2012 film "Katy Perry: Part of Me," enduring a divorce from actor/comedian Russell Brand and finding love again with new boyfriend, singer John Mayer, Perry brings numerous layers of love, light and loss to "Prism" while maintaining the cheeky persona that fans grew to adore.
Perry collaborates with much of her usual territory of producers on "Prism," including Max Martin, Lukasz "Dr. Luke" Gottwald and Henry "Cirkut" Walter, yet the album marks a sonic departure from "Teenage Dream" and 2008's "One of the Boys" and appears to be largely influenced by Swedish pop music sounds popularized in the 90s.
"Prism" is now available on iTunes. Check out a track-by-track-review of the standard edition of the album below.
1. "Roar" -- The album is lead by its stadium anthem-ready lead single, which peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 earlier this year, becoming Perry's eighth thus far on the chart. The song, while not at all an indicator of what the remainder of the album sounds like sonically, stands tall on its own and stays true to Perry's ability to create a beloved anthem.
2. "Legendary Lovers" -- The track contains global sounds and global references, with lyrics such as "Your Cleopatra / Your blushing Juliet /Anything for your love, a ride or die." Perry's breathy vocals pair well with the song's pulsating drum beat and Asian-inspired hymns throughout the track.
3. "Birthday" -- One of the album's most bubbly moments, Perry hopes to make a lover feel as though everyday is his birthday, with the singer seductively speaking "Happy Birthday" during the song's bridge. The track, one Perry stated on Twitter was inspired by Mariah Carey and Prince, among others, is reminiscent of Perry's "Last Friday Night" with a throwback feel.
4. "Walking On Air" -- Perry channels the role of a 90s dance club diva with this track, reminiscent of 90s house-dance hits like Robin S' "Show Me Love." The song finds Perry describing a euphoric feeling of love, with lyrics such as, "This is pure paradise / Even heaven is jealous of our love." Perry shines brightest during the song's bridge, where she shows off the range of her contralto vocal ability.
5. "Unconditionally" -- The album's second official single, released earlier this month, is a standout among the "Prism" offerings and one Perry herself declared on Twitter as her favorite on the LP. The track's title describes the song perfectly -- Perry declares to love someone unconditionally, flaws and all. The single is in the same vein of songs like "Firework," where the singer sends the message of acceptance for all no matter the circumstance.
6. "Dark Horse" featuring Juicy J -- Containing the album's only featured artist with rapper Juicy J, Perry experiments with trap-hip-hop styles on the midtempo track. The lyrics find Perry making a proposition to a lover who does not know what he is in for, singing, "So you wanna play with magic / Boy you should know what you're falling for."
7. "This Is How We Do" -- A standout on the album, the bouncy track was crafted to be played driving with the windows down and the music up. Perry name drops numerous Southern California locations, including her favorite taco stand from her hometown of Santa Barbara, according to the singer's Twitter. The song celebrates being carefree and living an opulent lifestyle, even if it is outside a person's personal means.
8. "International Smile" -- One of the more traditional sounding pop offerings on the album, Perry describes a girl whose looks, style and persona are one of a kind. The track finds Perry making shout outs to numerous cities, including Tokyo, Mexico and Rio, among others, an element of the song that is sure to translate well when featured in the singer's next tour set list.
9. "Ghost" -- One of the more ambient sounding tracks on the album, "Ghost" features a stomping drum beat that drives the song seamlessly from the chorus to its more relaxed verses. Lyrically, the song describes a former love that is no longer visible in Perry's eyes, singing, "There's just an echo where your heart used to be / Now I see it clearly."
10. "Love Me" -- While it is not quite an obvious standout on the album, "Love Me" sits well within the cohesive theme of "Prism." The song finds Perry declaring that she is no longer "standing in my own way," allowing herself to accept the love of another.
11. "This Moment" -- Perry challenges listeners to move on from the past, relish in the present and look to the future with "This Moment," a song that is sure to sit will alongside fellow anthem tracks such as "Roar," "Part of Me" and "Wide Awake." Lyrically, Perry urges listeners to stay present with her, singing, "Yesterday is history / So why don't you be here with me / All we have is this moment."
12. "Double Rainbow" -- Perry finds herself coming to the realization of love on the airy stadium-ready track, singing, "They say one man's trash is another man's treasure / When I found you it was all pitter patter." The song, along with much of Perry's other "Prism" offerings, transcends the top 40 pop format, allowing the singer to broaden her audience with a unique blend of sounds.
13. "By the Grace of God" -- In perhaps the most personal and revealing track on the album, "By the Grace of God" finds Perry baring her soul over a haunting piano melody. The singer recalls feeling defeated after a breakup, presumably alluding to her spilt from Brand, but ultimately picks herself back up and declares she won't let love defeat her. Lyrically, Perry opens up in ways she never has before, allowing listeners to feel what she felt during the breakup, singing, "I thank my sister for keeping my head above the water / When the truth was like swallowing sand." The track is a standout for its candor and serves as a perfect bookend to the singer's "Prism" story.