Katy Perry keeps things 'bubblegum' with her newest album
Believe it or not, it’s been two years since Katy Perry released her debut album, One Of The Boys. Seems like it was just yesterday that she "kissed a girl" and "liked it" while the rest of us rushed to convenience stores to buy cherry chapstick. Despite the popularity of her first single "Ur So Gay" and the catchy song that made every girl want to kiss girls, critics speculated that Perry was only a temporary fixture in the pop world. Then, after "I Kissed A Girl" took over the radio, she released three more chart-topping singles:"Hot n Cold," "Thinking Of You," "Waking Up In Vegas" — and the RIAA certified her album platinum, proving she was here to stay.
Unfortunately, pop music tends to change its mind, loving an artist one day, and dumping it the next. Luckily, Perry is not one of those artists. It would seem as if Teenage Dream, her sophomore album, might be even more successful than her first. Perry already has two hit singles from the album; "California Gurls" which peaked at number one on Billboard Hot 100 and "Teenage Dream" which has so far reached number three. Both songs are certainly catchy, if nothing else. "California Gurls" might even be described as the token summer pop song, all bounce and fun, while "Teenage Dream" is more mature, comparing the feeling of being with a lover with that of being a teenager. Both songs appear near the beginning of the album, giving it a jump start that lasts maybe halfway through the album. Eventually, however, the energy fades out, maybe because of the similarity of all the songs.
The problem with Perry, despite all her success, is that she's kind of a one trick pony. Perhaps it's not much of a problem, since it seems to work out pretty well for her, but the act gets old. Teenage Dream is like one long, upbeat song, with a few tangents in between. Perry tries too hard to live up to the image she created, and ends up with some songs that border on vulgarity without the class that she tries so hard to portray. "Peacock," especially, is one such song that’s all pump and no content. Her message is not cleverly disguised, nor is the melody worth listening to, resulting in a song that sounds close to an explicit cheer. A more notable song is "The One That Got Away," a bittersweet number that reminisces about a lost love and what could have been. In "Pearl," Perry touches on the occurrence of a strong woman losing her spark when she enters into a relationship. She ends the album with "Not Like The Movies," a slow, idealistic song about waiting for the one.
The pep is cute at best, but it will be hard to constantly rely on catchiness to make a career. Perhaps the only thing Teenage Dream has going for it is the ability to convince listeners to overlook its flaws and concentrate on the girly pop feel of the album.