“PRISM” is Katy Perry’s fourth album, featuring her already popular singles “Roar” and “Dark Horse.”
The album begins with “Roar,” a poppy and catchy song that reminds listeners of several others of Perry’s past songs. The lyrics represent yet another tale of breaking free and letting her voice be heard, a theme that is very overdone in popular music.
The video, however, is more entertaining and corresponds with Katy’s signature style when she embodies a tiger’s strength and dons a cheetah print bikini top and bottoms seemingly made from grass and plants.
Next, “Legendary Lovers” features interesting lyrics such as “Under a silver moon, tropical temperatureI feel my lotus bloom, come closer. I want your energy, I want your aura.You are my destiny, my mantra,” but the hook feels rushed and throws off the flow of the song.
However, Perry overcomes this small issue when tribal sounding drums pick up and background vocals contribute a unique sound to a song that is pretty typical of Perry otherwise.
“Birthday” is the newest song that will be added to everyone’s birthday party playlists. It’s an up-tempo song about everything birthday celebration related put into flirty Katy lyrics. It’s surprising that no one has made a song like this before. Props to Katy.
“Walking On Air” is surely the next song to be played repeatedly on all the radio stations and promises to become old quickly by its repetitive lyrics. It repeats “Tonight, tonight, tonight, I’m walking on air, tonight, tonight, tonight, I’m walking on air” and features an 80s themed beat and background vocals.
“Unconditionally” is a seemingly heartfelt love song and shows listeners a side of Perry people haven’t seen since before her split with Russell Brand.
“Dark Horse” is one of the best songs on “PRISM” because not only does Perry feature a trap music song on her album but she also adds rapper Juicy J on it. With trap becoming more popular, Katy was smart as an artist to adopt it right at its beginning.
The beat doesn’t sound like anything done recently in pop but more so resembles a rap beat and she sings flawlessly over it. Juicy J’s verse is not his best work but ends strong with “Her love is like a drug, I was trying to hit it and quit it but Lil Mama so dope I messed around and got addicted.”
“This Is How We Do” is a feel good song good for listening to in the car with the top down. It seems like this would have worked better as a summer release with party anthem lyrics like “This is how we do, yeah, chilling, laid back. Straight stunting yeah we do it like that. This is how we do, do, do, do, do. This is how we do.”
At one point when the song seems ready to end, Katy says, “Bring the beat back” and it doesn’t work well with the song. Listeners will wish it had just faded out instead of listening to Katy’s fake MC talk.
“International Smile” talks about a girl with “Flowers in her hair, she don’t care. Peach pink lips, yeah, everybody stares. You think you’ve seen her in a magazine, it’s like she walked right out of your dreams.” The entire song basically describes a Hollywood “It-Girl” and will remind listeners of Perry’s “California Gurls.”
“Ghost” is a song with a mellow dance beat about losing someone close. Perry sings, “When I look back never would have known that you could be so cold, like a stranger vanish like a vapor. There’s just an echo where your heart used to be.” The dance beat seems to trivialize the emotional lyrics and it ends up being confusing about her intended meaning.
“Love Me,” conveys a much-needed message about the importance of loving ourselves. Many young women can probably relate to her lyrics like “Sometimes I wish my skin was a costumethat I could just unzip, and strip, but who I am is who I’m meant to be.” She follows through with a very genuine denunciation of insecurities and second-guessing.
“This Moment” is another good reminder for most people. Perry advises listeners to live in the moment and “don’t let the clock tell you what to do” and “don’t miss and blink.” In a workaholic culture revolving around time, this is an important message that may be missed through the typical pop song sound.
“Double Rainbow” is a love song that speaks about how people are unique like double rainbows. She sings “They say one man’s trash is another girl’s treasure.So if it’s up to me, I’m going to keep you forever’cause I understand you, we see eye to eyelike a double rainbow in the sky.” Although all of these songs are typical Katy Perry songs and impossible to imagine them belonging to any other artist, most of them don’t show any progression or change to her work.
“By The Grace Of God” is the most honest, sincere song of Katy’s career, once again reminiscing a breakup. She sings “By the grace of God (There was no other way), I picked myself back up (I knew I had to stay), I put one foot in front of the other and I looked in the mirror and decided to stay, wasn’t going to let love take me out that way.” In this song, listeners see the part of Perry that is learning and growing as a person from her experiences in love.
“Spiritual” is a song about spirits, spells, and charms where Perry sings, “This is spiritual, under your spell. Phenomenal, the way you make me feel. like an angel, oh, at blow, like a feather, you make me float.” It resembles several songs that have been done before and leaves listeners disappointed.
“It Takes Two” describes how there are two sides to every story. Listeners notice once again Perry seems to be growing up and taking blame for half of a breakup. She admits to not being completely innocent and even apologizes to someone.
“Choose Your Battles” is a fairly mellow song about choosing battles in a relationship and Perry says, “I’m not fighting anymore.” It is another song that doesn’t differ enough from her usual style to leave any type of impression on listeners.
Overall, the album includes many more catchy songs that are sure to become popular but Perry lacks progression as an artist. Although most of the lyrics are her usual sugar-coated pop lyrics, there are a few times she delves deep into her personal life and that is definitely something listeners want to see more of.
Additionally, she hasn’t tried many new things here, but listeners should commend “Dark Horse” as a step outside her musical boundaries and it turned out to be a big success. Hopefully on Perry’s next album listeners will see more of these changes and less of insubstantial songs like “Walking On Air.”
*Published on USC’s Neon Tommy website.