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Pop - Released January 1, 2013 | Capitol Records (CAP)

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Pop - Released August 28, 2020 | Capitol Records

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It comes as no great surprise that Smile, Katy Perry’s fifth album, doesn’t buck the trend of her previous work which has been at the heart of the American pop scene for the last ten years. The singer isn’t pretending to have revolutionised her artistic direction whose formula remains largely unchanged in both visual and musical terms. Smile is tailored for the radio waves and, while we can knock the simplicity of its lyrics, the very synthetic and often meticulous production transforms some tracks into powerful dance hits (Teary Eyes) and even gives us some unexpected disco grooves (Smile, Champagne Problems). The refreshing R&B on Harleys in Hawaii and its more intimate production stand out on this very (or overly?) energetic album that the singer explains was conceived during her darkest times. Occasionally, the sweet, colourful pop sounds almost ironic when considering the subjects Katy Perry discusses. A Smile or forced laughter? © IF/Qobuz
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Pop - Released January 1, 2012 | Capitol Records

Nothing comes naturally for Katy Perry. Blessed with a cheerleader’s body, the face of a second-chair clarinetist and a drama club queen’s lust for the spotlight, Perry parlayed all these qualities into success via her 2008 pop debut One of the Boys, an album that worked overtime to titillate. Working hard is Katy Perry’s stock in trade: whether she’s cavorting in the Californian sun or heaving her cleavage, she always lets you see her sweat, an effect that undercuts her status as a curvy Teenage Dream, the ideal she puts forth on her 2010 sophomore set. All this labor produces fetching magazine covers -- sometimes accompanied by good copy within -- and grabbing videos but it undoes her records, since we always hear her fighting to be frivolous. And all Perry wants to do is have fun: all she wants is to frolic in the spotlight, and she’ll follow the path of others to get there, raising eyebrows a’la Alanis, strutting like Gwen Stefani and relying on Britney’s hitmaker Max Martin for her hooks. There’s no question Perry is smart enough to know every rule in pop but she’s not inspired enough to ignore them, almost seeming nervous to break away from the de rigeur lite club beats that easily transition from day to night or the chilly, stainless-steel ballads designed to lose none of their luster on repeat plays. Perry acknowledges some shifting trends -- she salutes fellow attention-whore Ke$ha on “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.),” replicates Ryan Tedder’s glassy robotic alienation on “E.T.” but tellingly avoids ripping off Lady Gaga, who is just too meta for the blunt Katy -- but these are merely accents to her old One of the Boys palette. And, once again, the music feels familiar, so Perry distinguishes herself through desperate vulgarity, wooing a suitor with “you make me feel like I’m losing my virginity,” extolling the virtues of blackouts and an accidental ménage a trois, melting popsicles, pleading for a boy to show her his “Peacock” (chanting “cock cock cock” just in case we at home didn’t get the single entendre). All this stylized provocation is exhausting, and not just because there’s so much of it (none of it actually arousing). It’s tiring because, at her heart, Perry is old-fashioned and is invested in none of her aggressive teasing. Not for nothing did she give her best post-One of the Boys song, “I Do Not Hook Up,” to Kelly Clarkson; its pro-abstinence rally flies in the face of the masturbatory daydream she’s constructed. It's ironic that her best song finds her lurking behind the scenes, because Perry's greatest talent is to be a willing cog in the pop machine, delivering sleek singles like “Teenage Dream” and “Hummingbird Heartbeat” with efficiency. Isolated on the radio, the way “Hot N Cold” was in 2009, these singles will wind up obscuring the overheated and undercooked nature of Teenage Dream as a whole. Then again, the album itself is almost incidental to the self-styled fantasy that Katy Perry sells with this entire project. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Pop - Released June 9, 2017 | Capitol Records (CAP)

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Rock - Released November 13, 2009 | Capitol Records

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Pop - Released August 28, 2020 | Capitol Records

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Ambient/New Age - Released November 15, 2018 | Capitol Records

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Pop - Released May 15, 2020 | Capitol Records

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Pop - Released March 4, 2020 | Capitol Records

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Pop - Released July 10, 2020 | Capitol Records

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Pop - Released May 31, 2019 | Capitol Records

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Pop - Released May 31, 2019 | Capitol Records

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Pop - Released January 1, 2010 | Capitol Records

Nothing comes naturally for Katy Perry. Blessed with a cheerleader’s body, the face of a second-chair clarinetist and a drama club queen’s lust for the spotlight, Perry parlayed all these qualities into success via her 2008 pop debut One of the Boys, an album that worked overtime to titillate. Working hard is Katy Perry’s stock in trade: whether she’s cavorting in the Californian sun or heaving her cleavage, she always lets you see her sweat, an effect that undercuts her status as a curvy Teenage Dream, the ideal she puts forth on her 2010 sophomore set. All this labor produces fetching magazine covers -- sometimes accompanied by good copy within -- and grabbing videos but it undoes her records, since we always hear her fighting to be frivolous. And all Perry wants to do is have fun: all she wants is to frolic in the spotlight, and she’ll follow the path of others to get there, raising eyebrows a’la Alanis, strutting like Gwen Stefani and relying on Britney’s hitmaker Max Martin for her hooks. There’s no question Perry is smart enough to know every rule in pop but she’s not inspired enough to ignore them, almost seeming nervous to break away from the de rigeur lite club beats that easily transition from day to night or the chilly, stainless-steel ballads designed to lose none of their luster on repeat plays. Perry acknowledges some shifting trends -- she salutes fellow attention-whore Ke$ha on “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.),” replicates Ryan Tedder’s glassy robotic alienation on “E.T.” but tellingly avoids ripping off Lady Gaga, who is just too meta for the blunt Katy -- but these are merely accents to her old One of the Boys palette. And, once again, the music feels familiar, so Perry distinguishes herself through desperate vulgarity, wooing a suitor with “you make me feel like I’m losing my virginity,” extolling the virtues of blackouts and an accidental ménage a trois, melting popsicles, pleading for a boy to show her his “Peacock” (chanting “cock cock cock” just in case we at home didn’t get the single entendre). All this stylized provocation is exhausting, and not just because there’s so much of it (none of it actually arousing). It’s tiring because, at her heart, Perry is old-fashioned and is invested in none of her aggressive teasing. Not for nothing did she give her best post-One of the Boys song, “I Do Not Hook Up,” to Kelly Clarkson; its pro-abstinence rally flies in the face of the masturbatory daydream she’s constructed. It's ironic that her best song finds her lurking behind the scenes, because Perry's greatest talent is to be a willing cog in the pop machine, delivering sleek singles like “Teenage Dream” and “Hummingbird Heartbeat” with efficiency. Isolated on the radio, the way “Hot N Cold” was in 2009, these singles will wind up obscuring the overheated and undercooked nature of Teenage Dream as a whole. Then again, the album itself is almost incidental to the self-styled fantasy that Katy Perry sells with this entire project. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Pop - Released September 9, 2008 | Capitol Records

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Pop - Released July 15, 2016 | Capitol Records (CAP)

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Pop - Released October 16, 2019 | Capitol Records

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Pop - Released January 1, 2013 | Capitol Records (CAP)

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Rock - Released January 1, 2008 | Capitol Records

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Pop - Released August 9, 2019 | Capitol Records

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Rock - Released January 1, 2010 | Capitol Records

Nothing comes naturally for Katy Perry. Blessed with a cheerleader’s body, the face of a second-chair clarinetist and a drama club queen’s lust for the spotlight, Perry parlayed all these qualities into success via her 2008 pop debut One of the Boys, an album that worked overtime to titillate. Working hard is Katy Perry’s stock in trade: whether she’s cavorting in the Californian sun or heaving her cleavage, she always lets you see her sweat, an effect that undercuts her status as a curvy Teenage Dream, the ideal she puts forth on her 2010 sophomore set. All this labor produces fetching magazine covers -- sometimes accompanied by good copy within -- and grabbing videos but it undoes her records, since we always hear her fighting to be frivolous. And all Perry wants to do is have fun: all she wants is to frolic in the spotlight, and she’ll follow the path of others to get there, raising eyebrows a’la Alanis, strutting like Gwen Stefani and relying on Britney’s hitmaker Max Martin for her hooks. There’s no question Perry is smart enough to know every rule in pop but she’s not inspired enough to ignore them, almost seeming nervous to break away from the de rigeur lite club beats that easily transition from day to night or the chilly, stainless-steel ballads designed to lose none of their luster on repeat plays. Perry acknowledges some shifting trends -- she salutes fellow attention-whore Ke$ha on “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.),” replicates Ryan Tedder’s glassy robotic alienation on “E.T.” but tellingly avoids ripping off Lady Gaga, who is just too meta for the blunt Katy -- but these are merely accents to her old One of the Boys palette. And, once again, the music feels familiar, so Perry distinguishes herself through desperate vulgarity, wooing a suitor with “you make me feel like I’m losing my virginity,” extolling the virtues of blackouts and an accidental ménage a trois, melting popsicles, pleading for a boy to show her his “Peacock” (chanting “cock cock cock” just in case we at home didn’t get the single entendre). All this stylized provocation is exhausting, and not just because there’s so much of it (none of it actually arousing). It’s tiring because, at her heart, Perry is old-fashioned and is invested in none of her aggressive teasing. Not for nothing did she give her best post-One of the Boys song, “I Do Not Hook Up,” to Kelly Clarkson; its pro-abstinence rally flies in the face of the masturbatory daydream she’s constructed. It's ironic that her best song finds her lurking behind the scenes, because Perry's greatest talent is to be a willing cog in the pop machine, delivering sleek singles like “Teenage Dream” and “Hummingbird Heartbeat” with efficiency. Isolated on the radio, the way “Hot N Cold” was in 2009, these singles will wind up obscuring the overheated and undercooked nature of Teenage Dream as a whole. Then again, the album itself is almost incidental to the self-styled fantasy that Katy Perry sells with this entire project. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo

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Katy Perry in the magazine
  • Katy Perry - If it ain't broke don't fix it
    Katy Perry - If it ain't broke don't fix it It comes as no great surprise that Smile, Katy Perry’s fifth album, doesn’t buck the trend of her previous work, which has been at the heart of the American pop scene for the last ten years.