The Teenage Dream Is Over – But in a Good Way

Katy Perry’s new album Prism dropped on October 22nd after a marketing campaign that included a gold-clad 18-wheeler and the burning of her Teenage Dream-era blue wig. The lead single off the album, “Roar,” took over the airwaves this summer, peaking at number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Judging by the album art and ad campaign, Katy is trying to grow up from her fantasy Candy land pop-diva pin-up girl image.

The album art for Prism, Katy Perry’s latest album.  Courtesy of Wikipedia

For the most part, Prism delivers on its promise of a more thematically mature album while retaining the fun-loving spirit of Katy Perry’s earlier albums. In keeping with Katy’s tradition of chart topping pop songs, “Roar,” is the perfect song to belt off-key in the shower (as my family can attest to from the summer). It also shrugs off her slightly dated (let’s be honest here) theme of “OMG parties and boys” in favor of a more self-empowering message. Losing (to a degree) the vapid themes while keeping the catchy melodies? I can’t say that this is a bad thing.

I’m going to be honest; I’m a Katy fan. “Last Friday Night,” “Part of Me,” and “Firework” are some of my favorite songs to shamelessly rock out to on a Friday night while my friends roll their eyes in the background. Aside from her typical Billboard Hot 100 repertoire though, I’ve always had a soft spot for her darker, more “serious” songs like “Thinking of You,” “Pearl,” and “Not Like the Movies,” even though hearing them as part of their albums can be a strange, slightly jarring experience since the style is so different from the pink, cloud-clad Katy that we’re used to.

Prism manages to get rid of some incongruity between her popular hits and her slower, more ballad-y songs. However, reconciling the two types of songs Katy wants to make comes at a cost—some of the songs on Prism sound very similar, making for an experience that is, at times, blander than the plain oatmeal that Dewick serves for breakfast.

Overall, Prism is a good step in the direction that Katy Perry wants her music to go in. There are some moments where the album disappoints, and it seems like she’s still experimenting with her new style (there are moments in Dark Horse where you just go “What?”), but this is a refreshing change. The Teenage Dream is over, but we’re waking up to a grownup Katy Perry who is more mature and purposeful, but just as fun-loving as before.