Under Review: Katy Perry, ‘PRISM’

Katy Perry, "PRISM"

Katy Perry, “PRISM”
(Capitol)
Available now
Rating: ★½ (out of four)

Katy Perry’s power lies in singable pop anthems that just won’t leave our brains — and we’re OK with that. That’s lead-off track (and the song we’ve already heard a thousand times) “Roar” in essence: an inspirational earworm that we just want to do some kind of physical activity to.

Unfortunately, “PRISM” as a whole feels like 16 attempts at making either club-ready or radio-friendly singles. It’s the full album equivalent of throwing everything against the wall and seeing what sticks. Unfortunately, nothing other than “Roar” seems to do it.

After the lead-off batter, almost everything strikes out. “Walking on Air,” “Legendary Lovers” and “Dark Horse” are completely forgettable and, along with other tracks on the album’s first half, are so full of electro beats that we can tell Perry is just dying for one of these to be a club banger. “This Is How We Do” is the worst example, and it feels like the song’s beat confined Perry’s demonstrably excellent ability to write a pop song.

The second half of “PRISM” tries to get serious (or at least emotional) with a string of pop ballads that are trying to follow up “Firework.” Unfortunately, even “This Moment,” the best of these things, doesn’t have the same spark.

The best non-”Roar” track here is “Birthday,” which conjures a vision of a crowded bar filled with 20-somethings desperate to celebrate something, anything.

Speaking as a fan of Perry’s writing, vocals and overall style, I’m afraid that “PRISM” is her worst collection. It would be tough to follow “Teenage Dream” or “One of the Boys,” two albums absolutely packed with pop hits, but this album doesn’t just fail to live up to expectations. It falls on its face after “Roar.”

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