There are probably a few things you knew about the unorthodox pop-star that is Katy Perry. She’s been married to Russell Brand, in a relationship with John Mayer, and dresses in a way that keeps you guessing. But you might not know that Katy Perry was once Katy Hudson, a Christian gospel vocalist. In fact, she performed at Cedarville University and Tenth Avenue North opened for her way back when. Well, since then she’s gone off on her own. Her first two albums, One of the Boys and Teenage Dream, Perry displays the typical juvenile, carefree attitude of the pop scene. But her most recent effort, PRISM, steps outside the “prism,” one might say.
PRISM (Deluxe) (2013), 16 tracks, 61 minutes
PRISM shows that Perry is maturing. She’s seen the heartbreak of divorce and broken relationships and we get some of that dispersed throughout the record. However, that’s not to say that she’s back on the right track. There are a lot of songs that show the darker side of Perry’s energetic form as well.
In the music department, PRISM relies heavily on the electronic and percussion side of the spectrum, backed up by Perry’s talented vocals. On some of the songs, such as “Roar,” “Birthday,” and “This is How We Do,” the electronic vibe is quite pleasant. “Legendary Lovers” has more of a Middle Eastern or Asian feel at times, while “Walking on Air” employs some more gospel-like vocals.
Although Perry keeps the optimistic atmosphere throughout the album, the lyrics can be extremely suggestive. On “Birthday,” the sexual influence is blatant, especially in the bridge, as well as in “Dark Horse,” when featured artist Juicy J uses sexually explicit terms. In “Walking on Air,” the influence is similar. In the profanity department, she keeps it fairly clean; a d-word from Juicy J in “Dark Horse,” and an h-word in “This is How We Do” as well as “Spiritual.” In “This is How We Do,” Perry advocates lots of questionable behavior. There’s some other minor stuff in the other songs as well, so just be aware of that.
But don’t throw it in the trash just yet. In fact, we can see a glimpse into Katy’s deepest desires. From her broken relationships, she longs for a committed relationship. Perry says “I will love you unconditionally” and “‘Cause every gift, every letter / Every promise of forever / Now it’s out of sight.” The latter mourns her recent divorce with Russell Brand in “Ghost”, as does “By the Grace of God.” “Double Rainbow” sees Perry loving her guy for who he is, even though other people don’t see his worth and “This Moment” encourages us to live for today and not wait for tomorrow. In “Love Me” Perry says “I’m gonna love myself the way I want you to love me.”
While Katy Perry might not have everything figured out, PRISM is an honest representation of where she is in life. She longs for something deeper in “Unconditionally” and “Ghost” than what she does in “Birthday” and “Dark Horse.” The uppity, positive feel to the whole album works to its advantage, but the suggestive lyrics don’t do it any favors. Nonetheless, the songs with positive ideologies are solid and worth listening to. 5.5/10