Katy Perry is one of those artists whose music is played in department stores or on the radio, and many listeners who only know her that way can't quite bring themselves to like her the way others do. It's a "mainstream" thing, I suppose. But with Perry, I apply a point I personally don't feel can be used to justify the success of Carly Rae Jepsen or Rebecca Black, among others: Whether you listen to her regularly, consider her a guilty pleasure or can't stand her, you must acknowledge that she couldn't have gotten where she is without talent. What she does with it requires more perspective.
With Prism, Perry brings her classic neon style to the table but dials it back with a largely down-tempo nature (with the exception of International Smile and a small handful of others). This gives the album a nice hook — as I said with Panic! at the Disco, a change of pace can do wonders for an artist close to plateauing. But two-thirds of the way through the album, I started to wonder if this is permanent.
Prism deviates from Perry's traditional style in a manner that's initially curious and thus gripping, but at a point borders on monotony. I'm always happy to see an artist try something new (branching out and fixing what's not broken are not the same thing) but I'd be lying if I said I could easily tell where one song ended and another began. Prism strikes the listener as the same extended live performance repeated two or three times over.
Roar and Walking on Air are animated and provocative; however, the matching nature of the majority of Prism cheapens it for me. Dark Horse is notable, featuring the bare minimum interesting quality: the classic female-pop-star/rapper collaboration (Katy and Kanye might do great things together).
Here and there, Perry takes one step forward and two steps back. But it's a small price to pay for songs such as Love Me, even if they're held in high esteem because their friends aren't up to scratch.
MAX ASAYESH-BROWN St. Petersburg High