A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Prism is Katy Perry's fourth full-length album and contains hits "Roar," "Dark Horse," and "Walking on Air," which were previously released as singles. Perry's signature girl-power messages are heard on a few songs, and she also explores issues such as heartbreak, self-reflection, faith, and unconditional love, making for some somber, contemplative tracks. A few songs have religious messages, most notably the bonus track "Spiritual," which also has the word hell in the lyrics. There's a good bit of sexually suggestive content on songs "Birthday," "Walking on Air," and "Dark Horse (featuring Juicy J)," the latter of which also contains one "damn" and rather explicitly compares love to a drug addiction. The only reference to alcohol is in the line "sipping on rosé" at the start of "This Is How We Do." It should also be noted that "Roar" has been criticized for its similarities to Sara Bareilles' "Brave," but allegations that Perry intentionally ripped it off were essentially put to rest when the pop stars performed "Roar" together at a live charity event.
What's the story?
PRISM is Katy Perry's fourth studio album. Written and recorded after her public divorce from actor Russell Brand, it shows a side of Perry that wasn't explored on earlier albums, with themes of heartbreak, karma, living in the moment, forgiveness, and spirituality. Tracks such as "Roar" and "It Takes Two" are strong anthemic sing-alongs, but there are also weepy ballads in "Double Rainbow" and "By the Grace of God" and contemplative songs like "Ghost" and "Spiritual." There are also a few superficial songs about fame, money, and image such as "This Is How We Do" and "International Smile."
Is it any good?
There are a few solid, catchy moments in Prism. Highlights include the undeniably rousing "Roar," the uplifting chorus of "Unconditionally" that captures Perry's ability to belt it out, and the mid-tempo anthem "This Moment." Even the dark bass of edgier track "Dark Horse (feat. Juicy J)" is a welcomed counterpoint to all the poppy synth. But overall, much of the record sounds trite and formulaic, with some cringe-worthy lyrics and a canned pop sound. For a pop princess who seemingly has a lot to say -- and a massive audience ready to receive it -- it's a shame that Prism ends up sounding so forgettable.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the image of Katy Perry as a pop superstar. How are pop stars "manufactured"? Can you differentiate between Katy Perry as a marketed brand and Katy Perry as an artist?
Perry reveals a bit of herself through songs about love lost, battling hardship, and spiritual awakening. What do these songs tell you about who she is beyond the pop-star facade?
Consider the evolution of a pop star like Madonna. How do you think Perry might evolve as a performer?
For kids who love girl-power pop music
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