Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Katy Perry: Teenage Dream

Illustration for article titled Katy Perry: iTeenage Dream/i

Katy Perry seemingly has everything it takes to be today’s biggest female pop star. Her voice can carry huge choruses, she’s willing to have her image remolded, her label has ponied up for pricey hitmakers, and she has a classically cute face attached to a double-take body. Too bad for Perry, then, that Lady Gaga is already firmly standing in her way, and Perry hasn’t done herself any favors by delivering a new disc that starts powerfully and then hits a lull, only occasionally regaining its initial strength as it gets further from the pre-release singles. Sporting plenty of glossy production and danceable thumps, Teenage Dream opens with the mid-tempo title track, a hearty tune about heart-stopping love that’s presumably about Perry’s fiancé, Russell Brand. But assuming that everything here is based on real life also means we have to accept that she’s had a ménage à trois (the indie-rock-meets-American Idol “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)”), and that some guy’s junk was so beautiful that the sight of it made her cry (“Peacock,” Perry’s attempt at a “Hollaback Girl”). Then again, a little suspension of disbelief and a willingness to let playfulness dominate are necessary when listening to Katy Perry. Unfortunately, the fun peaks around the time that Snoop Dogg officially hands over his thug-life card during the previously released “California Gurls,” a slice of sunny disco-pop perfection that suggested Teenage Dream just might trump 2008’s spotty but enjoyable One Of The Boys. Instead, Perry returned with lots of ho-hum ballads and lackluster radio fodder as limp as the discarded lover in the dis track “Circle The Drain.”

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