“In just a few hours when the iTunes store turns you will be able to preview 90 seconds of EACH song on #PRISM. Who’s ready for the light?!” Perry asked
fans following her “Saturday Night Live” performance over the weekend.
The album, out next Tuesday, contains all the things we’ve come to expect from Perry: huge, emotional ballads, bouncy pop, playful dance songs and a few inspired dips into musical styles from the 1980s and ’90s.
Things open with smash hit “Roar,” before shifting into the dreamy EDM-lite Romeo and Juliet love song “Legendary Lovers,” which chronicles the fantasy-filled first blush of romance. “Go down in history/Go down together/Into infinity, forever … anything for your love,” Perry sings in a feathery voice before a Bollywood-style breakdown kicks in.
“Birthday is classic Perry pop, a fluffy pop confection in which Katy promises to give you the best birthday ever, teasing, “you’re never going to be unsatisfied,” in a Mariah-Carey-esque higher register. The singer performed the disco banger “Walking on Air” on “SNL,” and has talked about how the urgent, soaring ballad “Unconditionally” is one of her favorite tracks on the album.
By now you’ve probably heard her make-it-bounce Juicy J collabo, “Dark Horse,” but are you ready for the 1990s New Jack swing of “This Is How We Do?” That girls night out anthem (“This is how we do/Chillin’, laid back, straight stuntin’, yeah we do it like that”) has a shout-out to the ladies who keep it rocking all night. “This one goes out to the ladies … at breakfast in last night’s dress. I see you,” Katy teases.
“International Smile” is another slice of KP chocolate cake with an insistent dance beat about “so in-demand” women who punch their own ticket and serve as “muse and artist.” Autobiographical much? Love vanishes like a “Ghost” in an ethereal song about memories of what used to be.
Perry is very direct on the jittery midtempo keyboard- and drum-driven “Love Me,” singing, “No more second guessing/No there’s no more questioning/I’ll be the one defining who I’m going to be/No concealing feelings or changing seasonally,” she sings. That urgency to seize the now is even more prominent on the 80’s throwback ballad “This Moment,” in which Katy says, “All we have is this moment/Tomorrow’s unspoken/Yesterday is history/So why don’t you be here with me?”
Despite its sparkly title (and the infamously hyped viral video of the same name, “Double Rainbow” is a gauzy Enya-like wisp of a song about a love so real and true that it’s like, yes, a double rainbow. “I understand you/We see eye-to-eye/Like a double rainbow in the sky.”
The regular version of the album ends with the only track to break the four-minute mark, the slow-march ballad “By the Grace of God.” People will read what they want into Prism’s lyrics, but “God” definitely feels like a ripped-from-the-headlines song about dealing with a failed love affair. “We were living on a fault line/And I felt the fault was all mine,” Perry sings before vowing not to let love take her out that way. “Couldn’t take it anymore … I picked myself back up.”
The deluxe version also features the inspiring glitch gospel pop of “Spiritual”, a plea to take responsibility in the insistent “It Takes Two” and the love as war metaphor “Choose Your Battles,” in which Perry promises not to fight anymore over muted marching band drums.