Album Review: Katy Perry, “Prism”

If you frequent Aural Fixation, my humble weekly #MusicMonday contribution on behalf of Literally, Darling, you may have heard, er, a few songs from “Prism” already. And if you frequent, well, anywhere with an FM frequency, you’ve surely heard at least one: No. 1 single “Roar,” Katy Perry‘s raucous return to her reigning spot as queen of radio.

What you haven’t heard yet, if this is your first listen, is one of the best pop albums released this year.

Perry’s launch for “Prism” has been a powerful one. With the release of “Roar,” she ousted Lady Gaga in sales and airplay when both singers (unexpectedly) debuted their singles during the same sales week—on the same day, as a matter of fact. Her fans (some newfound) certainly waved this banner triumphantly, but all “competition” aside, it was definitely something to see Perry’s star rise to such heights even with Gaga’s enormous(ly loyal) fan base behind her. (For the record, both singers have publicly extended an olive branch via Twitter; the pair bonded briefly over their shared hate for hackers that leak their music. D’aw.)

A highly publicized performance at the MTV Video Music Awards and knockout deliveries on

Saturday Night Live have followed, and now Perry has focused the rays of “Prism” on the U.K., delivering a well-received rendition of the anthem on The X Factor.

As corny as it sounds, though, what’s so refreshing about the record’s success—which is just getting started—is that it really is a record that has a certain lightness about it. It’s buoyant and refreshing, taking unexpectedly artistic risks that pay off in the form of a fun and forward collection of songs. ‘Prism’ is loyal to Katy Perry’s wide-eyed “Teenage Dream” days, but the evolution found on her latest album is a welcome sigh of relief. Most importantly, ‘Prism’ is proof that Perry is, above all else, a professional; each album she releases seems impossibly more poised for success than the last.

Here are some of my personal favorite moments on ‘Prism’:

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TRACK 5: Unconditionally

Get ready to hear this one time or two, folks—it’s been set loose to radio as the album’s second single. It’s a wailer, full of big pop-rock balladry that showcases some serious time spent focusing in the studio. 

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TRACK 7: This Is How We Do

Impossibly fun to sing along to and familiar by the second chorus, “How We Do” is a cheeky good time that gives ‘Prism’ one of its more joyful moments.

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TRACK 9: Ghost

So, yes, it begins with, like—a text break-up, or something? Regardless, it’s a great moody moment on the record with something of a nod to the late-’90s Cranberries chick-rock vibe. Indulge.

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TRACK 11: This Moment

Yes.

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If you like what you hear, you can also listen to more and check out my early individual reviews of other songs on “Prism:” “Roar,” “Dark Horse” (feat. Juicy J), “Walking On Air,” and “It Takes Two.”

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