Yet if pop is driven largely by business concerns, Perry is like a major financial institution: too big to fail. As such, Prism is about as far from a dark, personal record as could be imagined and instead feels precision-tooled to continue the blockbuster success of Teenage Dream. The all-star line-up of producers is largely carried over from that album, with Dr Luke and Max Martin dominating, while each song typically features a committee of writers. Indeed, if Perry was sincere in seeking to avoid a re-tread of Teenage Dream, she failed spectacularly. While the catchy soft-rock leanings of Roar present a simulacrum of progression, much of the rest of Prism consciously apes the successes of its predecessor.
I loved Teenage Dream, to the degree that I actually went to see Part of Me in the cinema (it was a 20 minute dvd extra stretched to feature length). Hopes were high for Prism and in my head I’d already planned a pre-emptively defensive piece on why Perry is a great pop star. Then I actually heard the album and it ruined everything – it’s just not that great and feels driven by marketing concerns more than anything else. Someone has pointed out in the comments that I mistakenly called International Smile, ‘International Lover’…but that’s because the former is so bland that after listening to it about 12 times I think I was subconsciously craving the Princely magic of the latter. Back in the day I loved Britney Spears and now I think she’s one of the worst pop stars in history; I had a similar trajectory with Rihanna; now I’m fearful Perry is heading the same way. I think there’s a lot in there regarding modern pop and commerce, touched on in the review…but that’s for another time.