Likes: Legendary Lovers, Birthday, Ghost, Double Rainbow, It Takes Two
Dislikes: This is How We Do
Overall: Cohesively sweet & airy, not as catchy as expected, good lyrics on half the album
You might look at me crazy and think I’ve been living under a rock, but “Prism” is the 1st Katy Perry album I have ever listened to in full and reviewed. Guess I’m tardy to the party in trying to hear what all the fuss is about. “Prism’s” strength is that it’s so incredibly atmospheric and consistent musically and lyrically; the focus being exhilarating, mesmerizing love with occasional remarks on self-discovery. I appreciated how the album operated like an orchestral film soundtrack in that majority of its elements seemed custom made for the theme. On average, an album’s lyrics can be predominately on one topic, but either the songs don’t tie together in story form or the music could easily be attached to another set of words. The production (mostly provided by Max Martin, Dr. Luke & Cirkut) is definitely mood-specific (light and airy), and doesn’t seem disorganized even though it includes notes of international music (ex. “Legendary Lovers”), hip-hop (ex. Dark Horse), throwback 90’s dance (“Walking on Air” made me think of Cece Peniston’s “Finally”) and 80’s pop (ex. “This Moment”). Since Perry is a mainstream pop artist, I expected a techno-based album, but even though the digital effects were there, this thankfully wasn’t the case.
Pluses in tow, a snag is that “Prism” is so sweet and chill, it might lose your attention. It took a week of repeat listening before I caught myself humming the tunes or remembering the words. Additionally, the 1st half of the record is somewhat weak lyrically, with the exception of “Lovers,” which doesn’t help. Vocally, Perry is just as blended as the stylistic influences on her album; sometimes her voice is high, a little shrill, seemingly limited in range and speak-singing (like you would hear in generic pop), other times, it’s deeper, fuller, raspier and more emotional with a rock essence (I’m not all that familiar with how she sounds live, by the way). Lastly, the well-written, enhancing deluxe tracks (“It Takes Two,” “Spiritual” & “Choose Your Battles”) should’ve been included on the standard edition of the record. Collectively, I enjoyed “Prism” and think it’s a solid piece of work. If you’re looking for radio-friendly, pepped-up jams, however, this wouldn’t be the album for you. Sidebar: considering Perry collaborated with some of the production team that Britney Spears was supposed to have for the upcoming “Britney Jean” (it was rumored that Martin, Dr. Luke & Danja, the men behind some of Britney’s most successful/or critically acclaimed albums, were going to work on “Jean;” Will.I.Am is now the head producer), I wonder if “Prism” will end up being the better album between the two. “Jean” will likely be catchy, but will it have depth beyond that? Questions I have.