Katy Perry, ‘Prism’ (Virgin EMI)
Effervescent pop queen Katy Perry’s last album, “Teenage Dream” (2010), was a runaway hit, generating five No. 1 singles and placing her giddy singing career on terra firma.
Perry’s fourth studio album, “Prism,” will likely be another big winner. “Roar,” a song of empowerment that references her painful, text-message breakup and subsequent divorce from comedian Russell Brand, kicks off a 16-song collection loaded with powerful ballads and infectious pop-rockers — as well as plenty of dark details about the ups-and-downs of her life over the last several years.
Indeed, “Prism” is the party girl’s most reflective and soul-searching album, one that examines life and love through the eyes of someone who is (finally, at 28) growing emotionally and intellectually, though maybe not by leaps and bounds. “By the Grace of God” is a particularly heart-rending song about her emotional crash-and-burn.
But this doesn’t mean Perry has chucked her dancing shoes and stopped kissing girls. She’s her funky, sexy, bouncy old self in the balloon-filled “Birthday.” And she parties pretty hard in “This Is How We Do,” in which ladies appear at breakfast “in last night’s dress.”
“Unconditionally” is a soaring ballad about unrestrained devotion: “All your insecurities/ All the dirty laundry/ Never made me blink one time,” she sings. “Legendary Lovers” curiously ventures into new age territory with ethereal lyrics, Asian strings and infectious hooks. “Dark Horse,” by contrast, is vengeful and macabre, with rapper Juicy J delivering a warning: “She’s a beast/ I call her Karma/ She eat your heart out/ Like Jeffrey Dahmer.”
On “Prism,” Perry worked with producers Max Martin (hit maker for Perry, Kelly Clarkson, Britney Spears, Pink and many others), Dr. Luke (Rihanna and Kelly Clarkson) and Cirkut (Taylor Swift and Spears). Collectively, they are the team that makes this album rock.