Katy Perry shows artistic maturity, musical growth in ‘Prism’

Perry’s latest album is a departure from the pop standards that made her famous.  (Photo provided by katyperry.com)
Perry’s latest album is a departure from the pop standards that made her famous. (Photo provided by katyperry.com)

Katy Perry, one of pop music’s most famous and prominent artists, has achieved worldwide success. After a short stint as a gospel singer, Perry achieved great fame after her singles “I Kissed A Girl” and “Hot N Cold,” stormed the charts. Then, upon releasing her sophomore album “Teenage Dream,” Perry became an unstoppable force.

Now, Perry is on her way to achieving even greater success with her fourth album, “Prism.” Perry’s newest album adds more emotion, maturity and ballads to her growing collection of songs. “Prism” is, in large parts, a contrast to “Teenage Dream” and “One of the Boys,” as she offers up new, not-so-candy-coated lyrics.  And, while the album has its fair share of entertaining pop songs, it offers up quite a few new developments for the young artist.

An example of this maturing can be found in love songs such as “Unconditionally,” a somber ballad that acts as one of the album’s more emotional songs. There is a realness that exists in it in which listeners will feel more than they would if they listened to the average pop song.

Another example of this is “Ghost.” “Ghost” is sadder than most of Perry’s music, but its lyrics are relatable. The song is powerful and raw. Perry’s lyrics feel real and in comparison to past music, if Perry’s “Teenage Dream” was the song about ending up in a relationship, “Ghost” is the song about ending                                   a relationship.

In contrast, there is the very dark, low-bass enthused song, “Dark Horse.” Featuring rapper Juicy J, “Dark Horse” is unlike anything Perry has ever attempted to do. Compared to songs such as “California Girls” and “Last Friday Night,” “Dark Horse” seems almost revolutionary. It is catchy and strong. As though it were “a perfect storm” as the lyrics suggest, the track builds perfectly long before “Dark Horse” reaches Juicy J’s verse, leaving listeners enticed.

Next, there is “International Smile.” “International Smile” is in some ways a back-to-basics track for Perry. Unlike “Dark Horse,” which is edgier, “International Smile” brings listeners back to the days of Perry’s characteristically poppy sound. It is as pop-generic as music comes. While this can be a bad thing for some, for Perry it works well. It speaks to what made her iconic, and it will definitely be appealing to  the masses.

Another song in line with Perry’s past is “Walking On Air.” This track, released as a promotional single weeks before the release of “Prism,” is one of the album’s most dance-like tracks. It is fast paced and over the top. And, while it is a safe bet for Perry, who had said she wanted to move into a new direction, “Walking On Air” is an effective pop song.

Then there is “Birthday.” “Birthday,” seems as though it was an extension of “Teenage Dream.” It is everything that Perry is known for: happy-go-lucky track with little meaning. And, on an album filled with multiple slow songs, it is a nice change of pace. It is happy, and draws similarities to Kool & The Gang’s song by a similar title, “Celebration.” “Birthday” is effectively a more specified “Celebration.”

Lastly, there is the lead track and single “Roar,” which truly builds up the energy with its anthem-like sound before delving further into the record. It is an upbeat sound, characteristic to Perry’s “Teenage                                  Dream” days.

Unfortunately for Perry, months before the release of “Roar,” Sara Bareilles’ “Brave” led to many drawing conclusions of similarities between the two songs, thus weakening the positive response to the song due to its supposed unoriginality. Despite this, it is still a fun single.

Katy Perry’s “Prism” is by far one of the largest steps Perry has taken with her music. And, while there are similarities between her past album, the vast differences in “Prism” make it its own original piece of work. “Prism” is an ode to pop music and will definitely continue to further Perry’s success in the future.

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