My feelings about Katy Perry as an artist and/or person have always been ambivalent at best. A friend dragged me to see her movie two summers ago, so I learned way more than I ever needed to know about the pop princess. I follow a lot of Youtube artists, so a few months ago, my "subscriptions" tab exploded with covers of Roar, Unconditionally, and Dark Horse. They were pretty good songs, although I didn't like the rap verse on Dark Horse much, but I decided to review the album.
- Roar - The first single and first track of the album provides an easy track to sing along with that's cowritten and produced by some huge names in pop music. It's a very typical single. It's catchy, at least partially thanks to Max Martin, and cowritten by Perry herself. The singing can get a little repetitive, but overall it's a solid track. 9/10
- Legendary Lovers - It's not really the kind of music I like, but it's well produced and pretty well written, and her fans certainly like it. 8/10
- Birthday - It's another playful single, using the whole birthday-as-sex thing. It's laden with sexual innuendos, and several of my friends have told me that it just makes them very uncomfortable. If I could rate it down for the music video, I would, because seriously, who dresses up as a religious figure and crashes a really holy celebration for a music video? Also, who fakes a car crash and upsets a birthday-party worth of kids? Not the smartest decision. But then again, she's not really known for being a sensitive person. At all. 7/10
- Walking on Air - I don't like the style of this song very much, and the production seems a bit off. The lyrics are rather sub-par, too, and seems like a repetition of the themes from the past two songs. 6/10
- Unconditionally - This song's probably one of my favorites on the album. It's very emotional and seems vulnerable while also projecting strength. The lyrics have a good message, and it's pretty easy for anyone to relate to. There have been some really excellent covers of it, including this one by Tiffany Alvord. 10/10
- Dark Horse - It's not surprising that Katy Perry chose to work with a rapper on one track on this album, although I would've preferred it to be another song. The rap verse doesn't completely ruin the aura of mystique of the song, but it comes close. It could've been done a lot better. 7/10
- This Is How We Do - I'm honestly surprised this hasn't been released as a promotional single yet, or charted. It's very catchy, although it is a bit repetitive, and I can easily see it being a common "guilty pleasure" or party track. It's well-produced, although the lyrics are somewhat mediocre. 8/10
- International Smile - It's the only third-person song on the album, and it's done well. It presents a well-put-together, glam girl, and is another song that could definitely be blasted at a summer party. It's sort of like the non hip-hop, third person version of Fancy by Iggy Azalea. Oh, and it's definitely well done. 9/10
- Ghost - This is one of the most forgettable songs on the album to me, probably belonging on the deluxe edition rather than the standard. Next to all of the catchy songs, it really doesn't belong. The lyrics are well done, though. 7/10
- Love Me - Towards the end of the album, there are many more songs that are unpredictably self-aware for pop music, with actual messages — not meaningless jams. "But now I don't negotiate with insecurities/They always seem to get the best of me..." The bridge is also excellent. 9/10
- This Moment - Perhaps these self-aware, meaningful tracks should've been more spread out throughout the album instead of all clustered at the end. I don't think it would matter much to anyone. The instrumentals on this song are pretty great, and the lyrics are intelligent. 9/10
- Double Rainbow - At first listen, I didn't like the song very much or think it was particularly catchy. The song grew on me, however, especially the chorus, and some of the lyrics are particularly beautiful. 8/10
- By the Grace of God - Often, the most personal songs on an album are the best, and Prism is not an exception. "By The Grace of God" doesn't really fit with the tone of the rest of the album, but it works, somehow, much better than Ghost. The lyrics are beautiful and meaningful, and the layering of the vocals in the chorus and bridge work well. Additionally, it features the most contribution by Perry - it's one of the two tracks on the album that she co-produced by her, and the only one that she wrote with only one other person (namely Greg Wells, a Canadian record producer). I'll just stop talking about how amazing it is now and tell you that I'm rating it 10/10. Big surprise there!!
- Spiritual - This seems to be very much a repeat of Legendary Lovers, with similar connections between love and spirituality. It's a bit too repetitive, even using some of the same words as Legendary Lovers, and I can see why it was placed on the deluxe edition. 7/10
- It Takes Two - Cowritten by Emile Sandé (Next To Me, Beneath Your Beautiful) as well as some other big songwriting and producing names, it's no surprise that this song is a definite standout. It demonstrates incredible self-awareness that's not usually found in pop music. The instrumentation, performed by John Mayer (who co-wrote "Spiritual), is also very well done. 9/10
- Choose Your Battles - Initially, this song may seem unimportant compared to the rest of the tracks, but it definitely works as a closing track. If you pay close attention to the lyrics, you'll realize that they're crafted very well. Overall, it works well for a closing track. 9/10
Album Rating: 8/10. Overall, I'd like to see Katy Perry take more of a hand in the construction of her album (production and composing), and perhaps take a step down from her pop-princess seat and return more to what she was like before she made it huge. I doubt that will happen, however, considering just how successful she is currently.