Pop star Katy Perry's second mainstream album, Teenage Dream, hit shelves this week. The record's already ubiquitous single, "California Gurls," which debuted in May, sat atop the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart for six weeks — inevitably prompting the question: Is the rest of the album as irresistible? Reviewers weigh in:
The album recalls Gwen Stefani in her SoCal prime: Teenage Dream proves Katy Perry is "a true California gurl," says Rob Sheffield in Rolling Stone. "Miles ahead" of her breakout record, it's "the kind of pool-party-pop gem that Gwen Stefani used to crank out... full of SoCal ambiance and disco beats." Thanks to Perry's "clever songwriting," top-dollar production and a saturation of "eighties beats" and a "Daft Punk filter-disco house sound," I can easily call this one a winner.
Clever? Try "formulaic": Katy Perry seems like "the kind of diva whose flashy trash fashions and offbeat humor promise something more interesting than formula pop," says Greg Kot in the Chicago Tribune. Unfortunately, that's "exactly what she dishes out" on Teenage Dream. Its "girls-gone-wild cliches" and "Frankenstein-like productions" render the music devoid "of personality, presence, surprise."
Parental advisory required: If nothing else, says Mikael Wood in Spin, "Teenage Dream won't disappoint parents looking for reasons to worry about their kids." The song "Last Friday Night," for instance, "recounts an evening of nonstop naughtiness — think streaking, skinny-dipping, and ménage à trois-ing." Another cut, "'Peacock' deploys a double entendre even Ke$ha might find crude." Of course, you should expect nothing less from "the woman who sealed her transition from Christian-pop piety to electro-glam abandon" with a song about kissing a girl.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Why the West should let Russia have eastern Ukraine
- Why you should stop believing in evolution
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- The dangers of our passionless American life
- The real reason conservatives should be outraged that police killed a white youth
- The amazing resurrection of Mitt Romney
- 10 things you need to know today: August 30, 2014
- Girls on Film: Belle is one of the most groundbreaking, joyous movies of the summer
- Your literary playlist: A guide to the music of Haruki Murakami
Subscribe to the Week