Two years after singing about kissing girls and liking it, Katy Perry has released her second studio album, Teenage Dream–a concoction of sweet pop music with risque lyrics. The pin-up worthy starlet’s nude body against a cotton candy cloud on the album cover sells the nice-and-naughty content of her new music. It’s a little bit of a departure from her debut album One of the Boys, which took on a pop-rock sound. Teenage Dream, in contrast, edges more towards electronic and experimental genres while staying poppy.
Perry already released two singles prior to releasing the album: the incredibly viral “California Gurls” featuring Snoop Dogg, an homage to the females residing in the Golden State with references to Daisy Dukes and various SoCal beaches, and the mid-tempo title track, a romantic summer ode to love. No matter how sick you are of one or both of those songs, after hearing the rest of the CD, you’ll probably believe that they were the best choices for the debut singles from the album. They’re fun, radio-ready, and they’re obvious standouts.
Another standout–and probably a wise choice for a third single–is “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.),” which could be a theme song to the movie The Hangover because, well, the song is about a hangover. Yet another distinct song–but haha forever if it makes to mainstream radio–is the not-so-subtle “Peacock.” Take out the “Pea” in that title and you’ll realize what the song is really about. The “Mickey”-esque chants in the tune amp up the ridiculousness.
Although the rest of the songs are good, it’s hard to distinguish them from each other. After “Peacock,” the remainder of the album makes you feel like you’re stuck in a club in the 80s. However, that remainder contains two of my personal favorite tracks: “Pearl,” a trance-like female empowerment anthem and “Hummingbird Heartbeat,” which has one of the best opening lines in the album–”You make me feel like I’m losing my virginity / The first time, everytime when you’re touching me.” The final listed track is the sole ballad, the sentimental “Not Like the Movies,” which doesn’t sound like single material. There are two hidden club remix tracks of “California Gurls” and “Teenage Dream” to close out the album. They’re very well-produced and top quality, but the tuning in the “California Gurls” remix makes Perry sound like a man and Snoop Dogg sound like a monster in his intro.
While more variety in the sound of the album was left to be desired, Teenage Dream is a fun and quirky album for any occasion, and has proved that Katy Perry deserves a pop princess crown. Or at least a pop duchess one.
OVERALL SCORE: 7/10