It’s here. Katy Perry’s hugely anticipated sixth studio album is ripe, radiant, and ready for listening.
Before we begin, can we take a moment to imagine the pressure of releasing an album with the level of fame and responsibility to entertain your already-established global fanbase. I can understand the small pressures behind releasing something for the first time – hell, we all did school exams. But once your teacher knows you’re capable of excellence, anything below 90% becomes the ultimate disappointment. I think when I’m a soon-to-be mum I’ll focus on my prenatal classes and ensuring I don’t trip up over my swollen feet, thanks. In that respect, pregnant Perry had a lot to live up to. She’s had her listeners screaming her lyrics around the bedroom and out car windows for 10 odd years now. It’s not the time to release an album that resides with the mediocre. The world needs some of that positive Katy energy right now.
It seems we might have found that burning energy with the drop of ‘Smile’ last Friday. Perry describes it as her “journey towards the light, with stories of resilience, hope and love.”
I thought I’d write a list of care instructions that didn’t come with the release of the album. How to treat the tracks in ranking order of a select few of my favourites.
8. Cry About it Later
Caution: I wouldn’t recommend listening to this song or giving it to any of your friends going through a heartache or deep-rooted issue. It encourages the vulnerable to live for today and worry about the consequences tomorrow. If handled under the wrong circumstances, the listener might wake up with a questionable new tattoo and a screaming liver.
7. It’s Not the End of the World
The pop classic. To be listened to when you might just need a total slap in the face and a reminder of why to be grateful and that you may indeed be overreacting. My mum was that person for me until this song became a future-noted tactic. I love the line “A fortune-teller told me the power’s in your mind”. It’s true you know; you get what you envision.
I really rate this catchy hook. The track’s lyrics and entire demeanor speak a lot to Katy Perry’s own growth in the music industry and in turn her personal journey too. She’s glowing and this song is glittery, upbeat, undeniably snazzy, and I’m here for it. There’s no way I’m staying still in the driver’s seat if it seeps through the radio with the neo-disco dance moves it draws out from my big toe. On that note – the car is where you need to unveil this beauty. It’s too big of a ballad for the old UE boom.
5. What Makes a Woman
This sound is breathtaking. It’s a folk-like enchantment of empowerment that’s a very daring ratio of soft and strong. “Is it the way we keep the whole world turning in a pair of heels?” What an absolute honour to women. This track is to be washed with your delicates, only the most beautiful of your things. Please air dry.
4. Harleys in Hawaii
If you were looking for a sexy tune, this is it. The adult-contemporary themes laced throughout the album all come to their head right here in this saucy number and I’ll bet your bottom dollar you’ll enjoy the way she’s carefully molded words to rhyme like ‘hula’ and ‘jeweler’. Whatever you do don’t watch the music video because (trigger warning) it makes you want to go and elope on a tropical paradise (during a nationwide lockdown). Bugger.
3. Never Really Over
I’m not the lie in my room with a candle flicking my legs up on my bed behind me type of girl but here I am being all soft and gooey and thinking about my boyfriend as the tracks of this album sweep over my bedroom. This electro-pop little beauty has been out for about a year now but it’s the first time it’s made waves in my ears. I’m going to give it a solid number 3 take and dish out the advice to you that it should be listened to when you’re keen for a mental break – a time to slow down and enter la-la land.
This one’s for the beach my friends. One of those days that are so perfect it almost seems a little orchestrated. “I keep you tucked away inside my head where I can find you anytime I want”. This song is full of some dreamy lyrics written by our recharged California girl. It’s crafted for waves, daydreams and a decent SPF30.
1. Teary Eyes
Encourages those a little lost not to run away, but to “just keep on dancing with those teary eyes”. It’s so strangely comforting, I’m genuinely surprised how well I connected. I think we’ve all been feeling a little lost in the madness right now. “Promise one day baby they’re gonna dry” sounds like the advice the girl in the bathroom gives you when you get too drunk, but oddly, I needed it. For our Katy, who’s been criticised in the public eye for her decisions, her body, her break-up, her pregnancy, has indeed danced through the negativity to create an album with tracks that totally blow you away in thought bubbles of iridescent colour. ‘Teary Eyes’ should be listened to, whenever you might just need it.
For an album released during lockdown, Katy Perry 100% nailed a masterpiece fueled with words of comfort and reassurance that things are going to be okay, and that you as your own person are strong enough. ‘Smile’ as the album title wasn’t for you to mask real pain with a fake upward grin; it was a note from Perry that she’s taken her time to heal from within, and we can too. She has faith there is a smile to be found again in all of us.