Even though Prism shot to the top of the Billboard charts, is the Katy Perry brand still as attractive since it's Teenage Dream age 3 years ago?
With the release of Roar, one can safely say it's a huge bet that Prism will definitely be roaring with an anthemic vision, of such attributes that made Teenage Dream and her sophomore album One of the Boys such mix-in and humongous. However over-the-top it may sound, Prism doesn't really deliver on a level that it's predecessor album has set so high, with Dark Horse and Walking On Air, the promotional singles, not really alarming nor major, leaving the audience to wonder if Katy might have waned in her efforts since 2010. With Dr Luke, that idea may vanish but still could be hurdled over at any point while the record is still playing. I'll first pick out some of my favourites.
Undoubtedly, Roar is one of the best songs and the best single, apart from Unconditionally that was released last few days ago. That too is a strong single, but then again raises the question, are these singles typical Katy Perry singles? Roar yes, but Unconditionally feels lacking in the lyrics department, sometimes only showing off Katy's vocal prowess but doesn't do a whole lot to balance the other. Still, it is a great song apart from the rest of the album and serves as a remembrance to Teenage Dream, the album which spawned 6 top ten singles, with only The One That Got Away (truly the one and only) that didn't make it to the peak of the Hot 100. One that puts on the vibe is Birthday, which seems to replicate that setting. It is one of the better songs no doubt, being pop and almost sounds like an 80's dance party is going on. This Is How We Do is probably the intersection in which I love and hate at the same time. It's anthemic, raw, but Katy's pre-chorus talk does take the whole experience out of it. However, the chorus is vocally extensive, but offering nothing much as well. I could not say the least for This Moment, almost feeling like a Queen melody at the start (Radio Ga Ga) is okay as well, nothing too surprising nor amazing. Lastly, By The Grace of God rounds it all off, the piano ballad piece really emotionally haunting and probably the best song on the album apart from Roar.
And then the problems start rolling in. Dr Luke has made some fantastic, at times haunting melodies that have served to be the pinnacle of Katy's tracks. Take a look at Last Friday Night or even Firework. There is none of that on this album. Well, maybe a couple. Let's talk about the promotional singles. Dark Horse featuring Juicy J, which is the only feature and a rapper albeit, almost identical to the former lead single, California Gurls featuring Snoop Dogg. One thing is certain though, Juicy J doesn't have a bigger presence then Snoop, and the technicality that serves it's purpose is that Juicy J brings nothing to the table other than his in-fluid verses that doesn't help the song, and certainly harms the track more than it should have. Walking On Air feels almost out of place, and it feels as if Katy's trying to replicate what is a dance 80's record that Prism can't eventually seep in fully. Legendary Lovers feels as if Dr Luke is experimenting an indie harmony that doesn't offer any vibe and not even rewarding at all, and the chorus on it just isn't involving enough. The lyrics are capable enough, but it feels like both a mix of Dark Horse and Walking On Air, and that is different. Then comes Love Me, an empty filler and while people may say it is in the same veins as Unconditionally, I don't think so. The latter is indefinitely better than the former, and also containing more meaningful depth and emotion. The rest of the album though, is really just all over the place. Ghost, Double Rainbow and International Smile are in the middle of the pack, nothing really sensational and just there for, whatever reason it may be. Ghost speaks about Russel Brand; Double Rainbow of hope; and International Smile is just, international smile.
6.5/10: Prism is just, well, another record. Yes, it contains powerful vocals and anthemic song structures that may heighten the scale, but the filler songs and the sometimes awkward placement just isn't right. While Teenage Dream is a step above the rest, Prism is a step back.
I got to hear Too Weird To Live, Too Rare To Die! yesterday, and it's about damn time Panic!. Let's get to it.
Album Stream on YouTube.
So Brendon and co. uploaded the whole 8 other tracks up on to YouTube and with most of my things done, I decided to check it out and this album is reigning in my mind ever since. However, the downsides are easily separable and marked. So each of Panic! At The Disco's albums have all been in a genre of their own, a class that is unmatched and definitely hard to replicate once more. 8 years after A Fever You Can't Sweat Out explosively debuted, we receive the band's fourth album and a conclusive effort for a band that is ever-changing album to album, and so affectionate to their core that this album, although lucid, is probably a cut better than Vices And Virtues. But this album suffers from one thing, and it has plagued almost a quarter of the songs.
The album drowns itself into unnecessary electronic mayhem. Whether it was the band's idea or not, it is really disappointing to hear raunchy and fallacious attempts to fill the album. Girl That You Love spearheads this example, with the dance beat sinking it heavily, along with substandard lyrics to accompany it. Girls/Girls/Boys offer nothing better, and in return seems to be an awkward mess to an album that is Vegas-themed with such lofty controls of the listing. Yes, the track listing does not even handle itself well. What's with sandwiching Girl That You Love with Nicotine and Vegas Lights together?
While those are all of my complains, this album is altogether sophisticated, unique and brilliantly written. With This Is Gospel and Miss Jackson, the first two tracks and the first two singles, the album has been a shot above Vices and Virtues in all directions. Vegas Lights is the track that first caught me by surprise, with a dance-club anthemic driving force that grabs you intimately. Nicotine, also amazingly well-written, is probably my favourite song of the entire album. Desperate, contextually jarring and absolutely immense - the song doesn't suffer from any of it's electronic mess that has lingered in the past few songs. It is loud and is Brendon Urie at it's best, something that has not happened in a long time. So many of the tracks are just a tier of their own. Casual Affair is vibrant and seems to be a mixture of the complicated wreck that is their past albums and the new instruments of the current Panic!. Far Too Young To Die is seemingly vintage and classy, with Brendon telling another superb tale of his own. Collar Full is also another great song along with the closer, The End Of All Things. Collar Full is desperate and crashes into you from afar, and is vocally triumphant. The End Of All Things is perfect as the last track. With a piano introduction and creativity breathing through it, you will not be underwhelmed.
Another problem I have is the length of these songs. 32 minutes? It's not enough! However in Panic!'s case, it seems less is more as this album truly is top-notch, and something only they can deliver. Brendon's vocals are spot-on; Spencer's drums are core to some of the songs; even Dallon Weekes, the bass guitarist, is also important. Apart from the very void fillers, this album could've been much much better.
8/10: Who could've thought this is the album we'd end up with? Tracks like Nicotine, Miss Jackson, Collar Full and This Is Gospel are some tracks you ought to download. While The End Of All Things and Casual Affair are seamlessly amazing as well. All in all, the album is a much better shot than the predecessor album. For the negative reviews, I can see why. You're going to either love it or hate it fully; but it's going to hit new fans around the corner and might surprise the faithful. To me though, I can't say it's as bad as it is, for it's Panic! At The Disco. You're going to be mesmerized by each of their albums, and Too Weird... is the sufficient adequate, if not, a better harrowing experience that you'll have to overcome for the rest of October. I've been waiting for this album for too long.
Benny Ong: Just your regular guy who likes soccer more than most people, and also a little downtime is pretty nice.