A&E

‘Prism’ shows the dimensions of Katy Perry

Athena Skapinakis
Features Editor

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Image from muumuse.com

‘Prism,’ shows the dimensions of Katy Perry Katy Perry embarks on a journey of enlightenment in her quasi-spiritual album, “Prism.” She delves beyond the sugary-sweet confection of “Teenage Dream,” her sophomore album, and touches on reflection and recapturing self-worth as she reinstates her confidence after surviving her turbulent 2012 divorce.

“Roar”

Katy Perry asserts herself as the queen of the pop star jungle with her hit “Roar.” This self-empowerment breakup anthem, full of glam rock, is sure to be heard blasting on every woman’s radio.

“You’re gonna hear me roar,” has turned into a scorned woman’s battle cry. With the song’s upbeat melody and uplifting lyrics, it’s easy to see why the catchy power pop tune has hit the Billboard Top 100 as number one (and as Perry’s eighth single to top charts).

“Legendary Lovers”

What you first notice with this Bollywood-inspired track is its mysticism. There are several dharmic spiritual tradition influences with lyrical references to karma, infinity and the Hindu belief of the third “eye,” an inner eye which provides sight beyond ordinary perception. The arabesque song has certain poetry to it with such descriptive and vivid imagery as Perry refers to a blood orange sun shining fiercely above a river in which she intends to meet her lover. She name drops Cleopatra and Juliet, two infamously love struck women. The drum instrumentals tend to clutter the song but ties in with the bhangra-style musical flares.

“Unconditionally”

This power ballad is an example of how love should be: unconditional and honest with the freedom to be yourself. It’s a song for romantic or platonic relationships, parent to child and sibling to sibling. The song speaks of a love that looks past the flaws, strips away the facades and offers acceptance. It’s love in its purest form. Songs like this are what make me love Katy Perry. The vulnerability layered beautifully within her lyrics is what draws and captures me.

“Dark Horse” (feat. Juicy J)

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Image from muumuse.com

Still purring, Perry delivers (my favorite) lines like, “Make me your Aphrodite.” Just the sheer reference of the Greek goddess of love suggests the sensual nature of the song. The track itself is a spicy mash-up of Southern-style hip-hop, pop, grime and trap music. It’s the ultimate femme fatale anthem.

“This is How We Do”

As Perry says, “This one goes out to ladies, at breakfast, in last night’s dress.” This is the song to play in the car on the way to get #turnup and then lose yourself to again on the dance floor. The hook, “It’s no big deal” is especially catchy. I see it easily becoming the summer anthem as it embodies a lighthearted yet thrill-seeking attitude.

“International Smile”

It echoes KT Tunstall’s “Suddenly I See” with its lyrics, but is a more infectious upbeat pop-tastic version. This song is about being fabulous. It’s a confidence-blaring tune that will make you want to grab a pair of your most expensive (and tallest) high heels and favorite vibrant lipstick to show off your sassiness to the world. It’s full of pop and fun as well as cute sound bites. It even features some funky elements reminiscent of Daft Punk. This song is destined for the club and I definitely can’t wait to hear the remixes. Are you ready for takeoff?

“Ghost”

This song is mesmerizing as a dark and powerful ballad. The pain she experienced through the loss of  her best friend/lover rolls through like a thick blanket of fog. She refers to him as just a ghost whom she never could have thought would be so cold. As if haunted by an apparition, Perry sings mournfully, “Rest in peace/I’ll see you on the other side.” This is easily my favorite from the album, comparable to “Wide Awake” in its delivery and heart ache.

“Double Rainbow”

Aside from the title of the song making me giggle (because it reminded me of the YouTube video), this track is all optimism and hope. Co-written by Sia Furler, there is a brilliant clarity in Perry’s vocals that allows you to escape briefly for nearly four minutes within your own world. Much like the moment before the appearance of a rainbow, the chorus rains down as a shower of splendor. It has all the subtle and climactic build of Sia’s empowering “Titanium.” This is the kind of song to listen to in the morning as I put makeup on or drive to school and calmly reflect on life.

“By The Grace of God”

We’ve entered the darkest parts of Perry’s mind and heart, and find her in a place we never expected: lying on the bathroom floor as she contemplates taking her own life. This suicidal nightmare is a far cry from the “Teenage Dream” she once cooed about in her prior album. However, the track takes on a more lyrically uplifting and inspirational mood as she declares, “I looked in the mirror and decided to stay/Wasn’t gonna let love take me out that way.” I have to say that I was surprised by the powerful emotion of this piano ballad as Perry shares her vulnerability, pain and anguish with us (resulting from separating with ex-hubby Russell Brand). With a head held high, Perry, by the Grace of God, was able to pick up the pieces of her broken marriage and move forward as a stronger individual. This is perhaps the most moving song on the album.

Conclusion

While some may have felt the album was too safe, I felt that Perry was very genuine as she expressed her emotional rollercoaster as she went from being lost and hurt to strengthened and confident. Reduced to its simplest form, it’s self-help music. Perry dabbles in electronic, rock, house and pop in this album. She has a fascinating transformation  from her previous albums of whimsical fun to this expression of real feeling.

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Image from muumuse.com

Trent Wolbe from Verge.com said, “The only thing I know for sure about her new album is that it feels at home as a real portrait of America’s sweetheart: a capitalist diva with all the self-doubt of a teenager and the confidence to deliver all of it without the slightest hint of regret.” She has moved on from the “Teenage Dream” and established herself as a matured woman and artist.

Perry mentioned in a 2012 interview with Billboard that she wasn’t interested in writing a “Teenage Dream 2.0” and that it, “would be silly.”

In “Prism” we see Perry lose herself, hit her lowest point, then pluck herself up and find her inner strength again. It’s absolutely inspirational to see her transition from darkness to the light. She emerges victorious from her inner warfare and breaks through like a dazzling spectrum after the storm.

 

TOP 5 TRACKS:

1. “Ghost”
2. “By The Grace of God”
3. “Double Rainbow”
4. “Unconditionally”
5. “This is How We Do”

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