This one’s my first Katy Perry cd, so I don’t have anything else to judge it against other than what it sounds like to my uninitiated ears. And what I’m hearing is a lot of Autotunes and ProTools filtering, layering and remixing on every track. And it doesn’t help that nearly every track ends the same way with an extended reverberating echoed tone or note. I’m not sure if there’s even any actual instruments used on this one.
All the tracks are pretty short- only a handful make the four-minute mark- and utterly formulaic. You can practically tell what’s gonna happen when- when the bridge is gonna hit, when the reverb will kick in, etc- which starts to get boring fast. There’s kind of a flow as the later tracks sound more mature and introspective and much less glam and glitz.
Roar- by now we all know this one. Catchy, with a good hook yet still like something more along the lines of Selena Gomez’ teen queen stuff.
Birthday- definitely an early 80s New Wave/R&B feel to it; more old skool yet still fully computerized. Good cheesy fun to nod your head to.
Walking On Air- straight EDM/House with an 80s/90s club vibe, this one’s like some Taylor Dane or Cece Peniston. Even Perry’s treated voice sounds similar to them on it.
Unconditionally- finally something resembling a song from a grown woman. Lyrically it reminds me of Alanis Morrisette, and thanks to the engineering some of Perry’s high notes sound a lot like her as well, which really ain’t bad a thing here.
Dark Horse (feat. Juicy J)- did Kanye West produce this one? No? You sure? Cause thanks to that rap they inserted in it really kinda bites.
This Is How We Do- remember Jamie Foxx’s Blame It On The Alcohol? Take it down a few notches and rework it into a teen friendly anthem of a club vamp. The beats are alright; it kind of grows on you.
International Smile- some Daft Punk stuff going on here. Synths and vocorder are really popping on this one and her voice is mixed well with it. Another one that gets your head nodding.
Double Rainbow- slower, moodier pulses and beats on this one are a nice change of pace. And I really like the lyrical sentiment of two souls in harmony on this one.
By The Grace Of God- mostly piano based at first, it morphs into another attempt at overproduced maturity, which is what drags it down.
It Takes Two- sharing responsibility when things go wrong is difficult. But this song makes it a little easier to ask for forgiveness and shoulder your part of the blame. Not so much techno-filtering and the more emotional lyrics in this one makes for one of the better tracks on the cd.
All in all Prism ain’t bad; like Miley Cyrus’ Bangerz, it’s an absolute reflection of the state of popular music, but infinitely better than that thing. But it also shows what’s wrong with it: too much reliance on tricks, smoke and mirrors instead of vocals, instruments and lyrics. Plus it seems like she’s still trying to walk the line between tween girl and woman like Britney Spears used to do. Which is a shame because I get the impression Perry really doesn’t have to rely on either of that stuff if she doesn’t want to.