By Nicholas Hautman
Special to the Chronicle
Katy Perry has a lot to live up to after her sophomore album, Teenage Dream became the second album in history to have five number one singles from an album, right behind Michael Jackson's Bad. The album was nominated for seven Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year. Now, Perry is back with her much-anticipated third studio album, Prism.
The album is exactly what most people would expect from Katy Perry – fun, classic pop songs with lyrics that occasionally seem so elementary that they could be found in the diary of a 13-year-old girl (i.e. "This Is How We Do").
The album opens with its explosive first single, "Roar," before transitioning into "Legendary Lovers," one of the standout tracks on Prism. "Birthday" is straight out of the 1980s, heavily influenced by early Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston. On the lighthearted track she sings, "So let me get you in your birthday suit/It's time to bring out the big balloons."
"Unconditionally" is simple and beautiful, although a bit too mellow, despite being chosen as the album's second single. "Dark Horse," which features rapper Juicy J, is easily the best track on Prism. The experimental trap beat shows that Perry isn't afraid to take risks with her sound.
Prism has a few extremely weak mid-tempos ("Ghost," "Love Me" and "This Moment") before shifting into the final two ballads. "Double Rainbow" is about Perry's relationship with her current boyfriend, singer John Mayer. She sings, "They say one man's trash is another girl's treasure/So if it's up to me, I'm gonna keep you forever." The album ends with "By the Grace of God," which describes how Perry "looked in the mirror and decided to stay" when she had suicidal thoughts after her divorce from Russell Brand.
Although the lyrics are a bit mediocre at times, Katy Perry has, once again crafted a fun pop record that is too good to resist.