Massachusetts Daily Collegian

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A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream” disappoints

Courtesy Facebook

If you have never been asked if you feel like a plastic bag, if you have never had a beautiful girl tell you she wants to see your peacock, if you have never thought E.T. could be a term of endearment, you had better be prepared.

Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream” is an explosion of adolescent hormones and bad poetry that hasn’t been seen since Julia Stiles had an English class hissy fit in “10 Things I Hate About You,” and it will give you all those things and more. It will certainly give you a headache.

This is the pop album from Hell, and it works brilliantly as all that implies. It is like a box of marzipan – it has no nutritional content whatsoever, but it’s so tempting you won’t know what hit you until you’re sick to your stomach.

The music itself is so thoroughly mediocre and uniformly peppy and banal that you’ll hardly notice song transitions. As for the songs, well, the less said the better. The standouts are only standouts because of their sheer stupidity. “Peacock” is the best example because it barely rises above a cheerleading ditty based around a stupid double-entendre about genitalia – it ends up crass and annoying rather than funny.

When Ms. Perry attempts balladry, which she does twice, her weak, over-trained contralto seems terrified. Shockingly, nestled notably in this candy-coated sorority house of doom lies the title track, a keen and effective slice of charming dance-pop.

What does this tell us about Katy Perry’s career? A great deal. While riding on the last waves of popularity stemming from some particularly catchy and cocky hits from summers past, Ms. Perry released a record that will undoubtedly maintain her second-in-command pop-star position behind the marvelous Lady Gaga, currently the Dalai Lama of the airwaves. It is so serviceably average that it sits almost above criticism, and that can’t hurt.

As anyone who has looked at her knows, it’s not the music that matters to Perry anyway, and it’s unfortunate. When she tells us to “show ‘em what you’re worth” on the boring club track “Firework,” one wants to think she ought to take that advice herself.

Austin Dale can be reached at [email protected].

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  • L

    LayaOct 22, 2010 at 8:12 am

    @siti Oh yeah, she doesn’t sing about nightclubs huh? She sings about penises, threesomes, getting so drunk you can barely remember what happened last night. It’s about the same thing, hard partying. Not a new thing, Ke$ha sings about the same crap, Katy’s not bringing anything new to the table. It’s a shame, since I really liked her in One of the Boys. Maybe she’ll improve, who knows.

  • J

    JosephSep 20, 2010 at 11:23 pm

    “This is the pop album from Hell, and it works brilliantly as all that implies. It is like a box of marzipan – it has no nutritional content whatsoever, but it’s so tempting you won’t know what hit you until you’re sick to your stomach.”

    -While certainly not a glowing review, this basically says exactly what you are claiming the article itself does not, Katy.

    It sounds to me like certain pop-music fans are, to use a term that is getting thrown around more and more, a little too thin-skinned.

  • K

    Katy Perry ComoSep 19, 2010 at 10:26 pm

    I think the ‘writer’ is backtracking on their review. You don’t call an album mediocre and uniformly peppy and banal, or say that listening to it will make you sick….

    and then slip in an ‘oh yea, it’s a damn good time’ in the comments section later, when people call you on your opinion, and expect to get a free pass.

    Here’s my suggestion. Write from the heart, and quite trying to write like a ‘smart critic’.

    If you think an album is a ‘damn good time’, write that in the first place. Then you’ll earn your credentials as an ‘honest’ writer.

  • C

    CatherineSep 18, 2010 at 4:50 am

    I guess, if we’re from a different generation, who enjoys different kinds of music then I’ll agree to disagree with you.

    However, I absolutely love this album. Yes I am 20 years old, who enjoys listening to Britney Spears and Katy Perry more than any other artists. I actually have a strange obsession for Britney. But I don’t think that you can really compare Lady GaGa and Katy Perry, because they both make music for different reasons, they create it in different ways and have a very different style. While Lady GaGa goes for the solid pop song, she will have a very deep meaning behind that song. Which she will use for a video, for an outfit. She will take that meaning and use it for everything.
    Katy Perry however, just goes for cute pop songs (very good solid songs I feel anyway) and likes to stay silly, keep that adolensence for her album which is called ‘Teenage Dream’.
    While Katy will have an album theme, GaGa will have her theme for each song.
    No real comparaison for me really. Cept that they’re both singers, female and have an interesting dress sense.

  • A

    AustinSep 17, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    And I can actually be reached at [email protected]

  • A

    AustinSep 17, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    I wrote this article last week, before the title track hit number one, which pleases me.

    I never said it was a bad album.
    I called it the pop album from Hell, sure, but it works well as what it is.
    It’s serviceable, mediocre, completely disposable, and a DAMN good time.
    I’m just calling to attention the flaws and giving her credit where credit is due.
    I do believe that Perry has both potential and talent, but she hasn’t earned the credentials to convince me yet.
    Those who think I’m just bashing her and the album are going too far.. LOL.

    By the way, I don’t think anyone is going to deny that Lady Gaga has more impact right now than Katy Perry, or that Gaga is braver in her approach.

  • G

    G-CSep 17, 2010 at 4:56 am

    Isn’t this article too late? Besides I think you’re living under a rock or something. Teenage Dream the album debuted on the top spot whereas two of Lady Gaga’s previously released ever made it. The title track and California Gurls feat. Snoop Doggy Dogg are #1’s on the Hot 100. Katy’s set to star in Smurfs…hello! Three number ones whereas Lady Gaga has two. You are sooo 2009. Sorry, this article is an “epic fail” as Katy sings in Last Friday Night (TGIF). I love Teenage Dream and Firework will prevail! Peace.

  • D

    DavidSep 17, 2010 at 4:15 am

    Shelly, how old are you? I ask because you sound like your 12 years old. Or perhaps early Teens. You are going to have to accept the reality that other people don’t like the music you like. And they will voice their opinions. Especially someone who reviews music. Its their job & ethical responsibility to give their honest opinion. Now, I’m not going to be too hard on you for a couple reasons. One, you’re at an age where your celebral cortex hasn’t completely evolved yet. And two, you can’t hold anyone’s feet to the fire regarding their taste in music when there just starting their journey into growing up. Every single one us has skeletons in our musical past from when we we’re younger, that when we look back on, we go “wow…oh wow, what was I thinking?”. Regrets.

    But if your actually an adult, in college or something? Well, if I were you I would be careful sharing your unadultered fandom for Katy Perry’s music with others. There are a lot us out there like me and Mr. Dale who have the opinion that Ms. Perry makes rather disposable Pop Music. Songs that are here today and gone tomorrow, the shelf life of a dairy product. Our opinion is that Ms. Perry’s focus is on crafting music that veer’s to the Entertainment side of the industry, less so the artistically unique. She has receieved criticism in the past from others that she and her Producers try to produce singles-driven songs in various genre styles to deliberatly increase popularity across demographic spectrums. An effort to maximize market share. It can make for lots of radio & ring tone play, but also erractic, incoherent albums. In short, marketing herself and her music as a commercially-viable product. The effort to show some skin in photos, videos, and live performances can be a tip-off.

    So, yeah, be careful sharing your Kary Perry fandom to others you are not sure share your tastes. You could be setting up yourself for some grief. Kinda like now. I am just saying this as an advisory. If your that passionate about her music, by all means, shout it out. But just realize your going to have a thick-skin about it. Because there are lots of us on the more jaded, disillusioned, cynical side of life out there. And if you lash out because we don’t hold the same opinion as yours, we are going to lash back. 🙂

    Now, where did I put that Cut City cd…

  • S

    sitiSep 17, 2010 at 3:36 am

    At least Katy doesn’t sing songs about nightclubs or ‘he doesn’t love me,wahhh’ or anything like that.At least she’s worked hard to get where she is unlike Justin Bieber or Miley Cyrus.At least,this 6 months of hard work album was much better than the one Kesha’s been working on for 7 years (animal).At least,Katy’s original.

  • S

    ShellySep 16, 2010 at 11:19 pm

    This is one horrible article. Katy Perry sings from
    the heart and right now that album is saying that she is happy with what she has and celebrating, can’t you appriciate that? She is a very soulful singer, yeah she may use bad language but maybe she is just that excited. I am actually inspired by KatyPerrys songs. If you don’t like any of her songs on her album then I think you have some bad taste in music. Katy Perry makes great music and you shouldn’t put her down, it’s not like she ever put you down like that.