Prism

 
Mostly trite pop album has a few hooks and some sexy stuff.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

There are positive messages throughout Prism. "Roar" is an empowering anthem that encourages strength and resistance, and "Unconditionally" is about unconditional love and acceptance. "Love Me" is about loving oneself all the way through, and "By the Grace of God" is about prevailing in the face of difficulty. Bonus track "It Takes Two" promotes forgiveness and self-acceptance. There are also not-so-positive messages, such as in "International Smile" and "This Is How We Do," both of which glamorize fame and money, the latter with superficial lyrics such as, "This goes out to all you people going to bed with a ten and waking up with a two." Maybe these songs were intended to be funny or satirical, but if so most listeners will miss out on the joke.

Positive role models

A few songs, such as "Roar," "Love Me," and "It Takes Two," have positive lyrics and encouraging messages and make Katy Perry seem like a good role model for kids. But there are also songs that glamorize a vapid lifestyle and superficial interests, which may negate any positive takeaways.

Violence
Not applicable
Sex

There's a decent amount of sexy lyrical content on Prism. "Birthday" has suggestive and sexual lyrics, such as "We can get it on so hot and heavy until dawn" and "Let me get in your birthday suit." "Walking on Air" is also really sexual. Lyrics include "You take me to utopia / you're reading me like erotica / boy, you make me feel exotic" and "Just when I think I can't take anymore / we go deeper and harder than ever before." "Dark Horse" is also quite sexual, particularly when Juicy J sings, "She ride me like a roller coaster / turn the bedroom into a fair."

Language

In "Dark Horse" Juicy J sings, "Damn, I think I love her." Bonus track "Spiritual" explores Perry's religious awakening and has one use of "hell" as heard in the lyric "holy hell, and heaven high."

Consumerism

"This Is How We Do" name-drops Chanel and Maserati, and "International Smile" mentions Ray-Bans.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

There are a few vague mentions of drugs and alcohol. In "Dark Horse," love is somewhat explicitly compared to a drug addiction: "Her love is like a drug / I was tryna hit it and quit it / But lil' mama so dope / I messed around and got addicted" and "Shawty’s heart was on steroids." "This Is How We Do" starts with the lyric "Sipping on rosé."

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?

QUALITY
 

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.

Families can talk 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?

Music details

Artist:Katy Perry
Release date:October 18, 2013
Type:Album
Label:Capitol
Genre:Pop
Parental advisory:No
Edited version available:No

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Quality

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  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
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  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 11 years old December 1, 2013
age 11+
 

Love it

I personally think it's a great album with amazing songs. She is one of my idols. She went for a candy land dream to a mature and inspiring person. This is album does has a few things here and there but ppl don't say it sucks because we have a bunch of other artists who swear all the time and talk about sex and just a few words pisses everybody off
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 13 years old Written byLillliiiaaannn November 23, 2013
age 12+
 

5 STARSS!

Album is clean except for a few sly cuss words. Sends a positive message and Katy Perry is a positive role model.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 13 years old Written bydancer321 February 16, 2014
age 11+
 

Prism

This album has great music that is very catchy and amazing! Great for anyone 11 and up.
What other families should know
Great role models

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