When Katy Perry established herself in 2008 with her poser-lesbian anthem “I Kissed a Girl” she became the all-American gal who made earworms coated in candy heartbreak or empowerment — and wore bras that shot whipped cream.
But few pop stars make albums as good as their singles and as enjoyable as Teenage Dream was it had flaws (see “Peacock”). Prism is no different. With Dr. Luke and Max Martin back in almost full control she knocks it out of the park with “Roar” slips some trap into the Juicy J-assisted “Dark Horse” without embarrassing herself and finds the type of righteous shit Mariah should be releasing in her 40s with “Birthday.”
Prism is a pop album however which means the routine five or six singles interspersed with filler. She turns a brilliant title like “Double Rainbow” into a sad-sack moment while “By the Grace of God” is just the sort of vibe-killing downer that will end up on Grey’s Anatomy . And is that Blood Diamonds’ “Phone Sex” getting ripped off on the bland “Unconditionally”? Yeah I caught you.
Last year Taylor Swift’s Red proved a pop album can be a complete package. Unfortunately Katy didn’t get the memo. Prism has the multiple singles it’ll need to be a hit but offers little more.