Your Weekly Hate-Like: Katy Perry's Prism Era

perr21Photo: Courtesy of Capitol Records.
Introducing: Your Weekly Hate-Like, wherein we expose our deepest darkest feelings about those things we loathe and love in equal measure. Whether it's a tacky product, idiotic film, or a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad celebrity — whom we cannot help but root for — Your Weekly Hate-Like is a chance to commiserate, roll your eyes, and enjoy the guiltiest pleasures we can think of.
I've written a lot about Katy Perry — like, a lot. So much, that I almost found myself, as Prism was gaining momentum, falling for her. My once-adamant stance against her entire aesthetic began to crumble. I listened to the album, felt her sadness, and praised her most recent work as a fairy tale — something to escape into. And, escape I did. Prism was on rotation up until Gaga's ARTPOP happened and I had another pop diva to consume. Like in all things, stepping away from Prism put it and Perry's brand into perspective. Just as soon as I was on the Perry bus, I was off.
You see, I hate that I love Katy Perry. Her songs of empowerment and candy-coated fun are bubbly, infectious, and important to many. I understand that, but I just can't get behind a person who doesn't live her art; someone who doesn't follow through. Perry promised a darker, different, and, more importantly, adult-sounding album. YouTube videos leading up to the premiere of "Roar" showed her burning her blue wig, a funeral for the pink and purple princess. Tacky, yes, but it marked a shift. "Roar" was nice: nothing groundbreaking, and it definitely didn't elicit a "Woah! This is Katy Perry?!" response. But, it was a song that lyrically marked her new coming out and I supported it. (Plus, it's catchy as hell.) More tracks cropped up showing dance tunes and a surprising foray into trap. Like many of my friends, I dutifully downloaded, listened, even blasted them.
But, part of me felt like I was being cheated. Where was this "emo" album? "Walking On Air," "Birthday," and "Unconditionally" were run-of-the-mill Perry. The album dropped and I analyzed the hell out of it — looking for this darkness that I was promised. Songs like "Choose Your Battles" and "By The Grace Of God" had some, bringing the introspective view I wanted from her. They combined her catchy pop with solid songwriting and personal storytelling. However, the songs leading up to those brief moments could have come from Teenage Dream. "Birthday" might as well be "Peacock," and "This Is How We Do" is basically a rehash of "Last Friday Night."
perry1Photo: Courtesy of Capitol Records.
Prism isn't reductive, but it's not a vertical growth, either. It's a linear move in the right direction that could've been bolder. In the roughly five months since its release, three of the 16 tracks have stood out: the two aforementioned sad tracks and, by an 808 bump, "Dark Horse." (The latter could have replaced "E.T." on Teenage Dream, but it's a hair too, erm, dark.)
Here's the thing: I still don't hit skip when "Roar" or "Unconditionally" come on. I roll my eyes, but I still lip sync for my life in the mirror. It's an annoying contradiction I've found myself perpetrating more times than I care to admit. Katy Perry is a pop artist to a T. Unlike, say, ARTPOP, Prism goes down easy. It's digestible. And, at the end of the day, it's not a terrible album. I just wish it would've roared a bit louder.

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