Release Date: Aug 24, 2010
Record label: Capitol
One of Katy Perry’s chief charms has always been how lightly she seems to wear her pop stardom — as if it’s all just some ?crazy cosmic goof that she’ll happily ride out as long as we let her. Her latest serving of sonic fluffernutter, the inescapable ”California Gurls,” spent six weeks at No. 1 this summer, and Teenage Dream, the album from which it comes, seems bionically designed to make her a gurl for all Billboard seasons.
Nothing comes naturally for Katy Perry. Blessed with a cheerleader’s body, the face of a second-chair clarinetist and a drama club queen’s lust for the spotlight, Perry parlayed all these qualities into success via her 2008 pop debut One of the Boys, an album that worked overtime to titillate. Working hard is Katy Perry’s stock in trade: whether she’s cavorting in the Californian sun or heaving her cleavage, she always lets you see her sweat, an effect that undercuts her status as a curvy Teenage Dream, the ideal she puts forth on her 2010 sophomore set.
K-K-K-Katy, not-quite-beautiful Katy / You’re the g-g-g-girl that you desperately want me to adore. Or at least whose singles you want me to buy, and on that count, your moon has, in fact, risen pretty high over the cowshed. But at what price has Katy Perry risen to pop stardom? One that will have her singing bubblegum-raunch about spring-break lesbianism to live audiences for the rest of her career, and Perry is already old enough to know better.
I realise that I’m in an odd position when it comes to reviewing this record. It occurs to me that the vast majority of people reading this will have already formed an opinion on Katy Perry. Not only that, most people have probably already heard ‘California Gurls’ the lead single from Teenage Dream. In fact most people reading this have probably clicked on this review hoping for a scathing indictment of the crimes against music that are contained within Teenage Dream.
Review Summary: Dear Katy,I thought you were different. I used to think your sprightly personality, subtle sarcasm and jabs at more established musicians, and defined sense of style suggested a deeper dimension than your average pre-fab pop star. Despite admittedly simple, straightforward pop like “I Kissed A Girl” and “Waking Up In Vegas” along with lyrics and photos meant to stir up controversy and firmly place you into the bracket of commercial whore, I always thought there was more to you than your run-of-the-mill Ke$ha or Pussycat Dolls.
One of Katy Perry's main talking points while promoting her second album is its 90s pop influence. But under the production and songwriting direction of Dr. Luke and Max Martin (who, collectively, have masterminded hits for Miley, Ke$ha and Britney), Teenage Dream is an unapologetic play for pop dominance, calculated to sound very much of the present.
Inciting a minor shit storm with her 80-character review of Lady Gaga’s “Alejandro” video in June, Katy Perry tweeted: “Using blasphemy as entertainment is as cheap as a comedian telling a fart joke.” Having declared flatulence beneath her, Ms. Perry’s instead churns out maladjusted sleaze. On her latest release, she finds humor in drunken make-out sessions and single-entendre sex talk, finds that being a celebrity isn’t always a walk in the Candyland porno park, and through it all, finds maybe two or three songs to justify her album’s existence.
Displays intelligence, individuality and character – but too often morphs into parody. Al Fox 2010 Love or hate Katy Perry, she knows how to play the game. Coquettish expressions, polarising wardrobe choices and salacious quotes about her high-profile relationship certainly haven’t harmed her status. But vitally, there’s a cut-off point, leaving the music to do the rest.