“You’re gonna watch this flower grow right through the cracks.”
It’s no surprise that Katy Perry has had a groundbreaking career. Her album, “Teenage Dream” broke multiple records including making Hot 100 history by tying Michael Jackson’s record with 5 number 1 songs on the same album to top the charts and her music videos have garnered millions as well as billions of views. Her collection of hits and awards are impossible to count up.
Unfortunately, when there comes success, there also brings hardships too. After a tumultuous divorce and what some would call a “flop” of an album from her 2017 release, “Witness,” some people chose to forget about her while others decided to ride the wave and see what would come out from the other side. And I’m happy to say she came back better than ever.
Her new album “Smile” released on August 28th, 2020, is what I like to call her second chance of redemption. We already got a snippet of some of the songs on the album such as an always needed breakup song to dance to instead of cry, “Never Really Over,” the summer loving island escape song, “Harleys In Hawaii,” and the go-getting, I can do anything song, lovingly titled after her newborn daughter, “Daisies.” All of these songs gave a great preview of what was to come.
Am I going to lie and say I brushed her to the side after her last album? No, I did that and I regret it. But after giving this album a full listen from start to finish, it made me realize just how great of an artist Perry is. Her production value for each song is unlike what a lot of the artists of today are doing. The way that she goes from having hard-hitting beats with clever lyrics to really grab your attention in, “Not the End of the World,” which some fans are petitioning to get as the next single to it’s familiarity to another classic hit, “Dark Horse,” to switching things up with a upbeat, dance in your empty living room because your furniture hasn’t come yet (yes, this is my reality) song “Smile.” One things for sure, when it comes to production, Perry is perfection.
Let’s also not forget how much work she has put in this year with not only her at home performances, but the visuals and music videos she created to go along with this album. Did I mention she also did most if not all of this while pregnant? Her work may go unnoticed by some, but when you really take the time to not only listen but see all the time she put into this album with different animations and stories within the songs itself, it’s a shame some won’t ever get to witness it.
But that’s what happens when we “cancel” people. When we don’t give them another chance because we feel like they can never go back to the person they were before, the “old version.” But here’s the thing and the lesson I got from this album, you can take a bad time in your life and grow from it.
This album is a four part story: therapy, recovery, happiness, and true love. What I believe to be the best song on the album but what I’m predicting to be underrated instead, “Resilient,” does a good job of telling her career through all the highs and lows. But what she tells us throughout this album is that you can’t let something or someone take away your happiness. Sometimes it takes time, even years and many lessons to be learned in order to get to a place of contentment. Eventually, you do get there.
She helps get you through the crying phase with, “Cry About It Later,” and “Teary Eyes,” both songs deserving to be heard in a club, or in this case, played on high volume in your living room with the windows down and on your third drink. Her recovery phase packs a punch with uplifting lyrics that sometimes sting but are necessary to be heard. It’s a way to hear the harsh truth but learning to accept it rather than run away from it. Like she says, “Flippin off the flop, now I just enjoy the ride.”
In the happiness phase you can actually hear a change in her voice when she sings, because she’s singing with a smile. The songs are more upbeat to highlight all the dark times she had to go through to get here. The last phase, true love, is a time for reflection and holding onto something good and learning to nourish instead of abusing it for fear that it may go away. But the love isn’t just for one person, it’s to her family, her friends, and most importantly, herself. The last song, “What Makes A Woman,” is a softer tune with a big meaning, a wonderful closing chapter to wrap up this album.
Overall, this album made me feel something. For the first time this year since quarantine started I forgot about the things in my life that were going wrong or stressing me out and just put this album on and danced barefoot around my place. I hope it can do the same for you.
All I have to say is Perry has been through the ringer and she has come back fighting and a winner.
Most likely writing in my journals or notes in my phone, burying my face in a book, at a concert, laughing or eating fries. Recent college graduate with a ridiculous dream of wanting to write for a living.