Smile, it’s good pop!
Katy Perry has been one of America’s notable pop sweethearts for over a decade. Perry grew up singing and being involved in church choir, and while her first attempts at breaking onto the music scene were futile, in 2008 she gained recognition amid the release of her second studio album One of the Boys. The album was largely successful in mainstream music, due in part to hit singles “I Kissed a Girl” and “Hot n Cold” and even earned the star two Grammy nominations. Her following album, Teenage Dream, was even more commercially successful and gave people many hits, including “Teenage Dream” and “California Gurls.” Prism and Witness were albums four and five and branched out into more serious topics and experimented with different sounds. Now, Perry’s latest project is her sixth studio album, Smile, which she shared is all about empowerment and light.
Smile opens on the standalone single “Never Really Over,” which has that same infectious quality reminiscent of her early hits. While the song’s lyrics touch on heartbreak and moving on, the melody and music are quite upbeat, thanks to popular EDM DJ Zedd, who helped pen the song.
“Daisies” was the first official single on the project and perfectly envelops the empowering and uplifting message Perry wanted to convey throughout the album. With lyrics like “They said I’m going nowhere/ Tried to count me out/ Took those sticks and stones/ Showed ‘em I could build a house” and “I’m the long shot/ I’m the Hail Mary/ Why can’t it be me?” accompanied by a melody that slowly crescendos as it hits the chorus, leaves the listener on an inspired note. Continuing that hopeful note is the song “Not the End of the World” that includes some more encouraging words like “It’s not the end of the world/ Throw on your fancy attire/ Fears in the fire/ Don’t lose hope” and has a more alternative synth influence.
The album’s namesake and follow up single lives up to its name, with a happy beat and lyrics that ring of gratitude, like “Yeah, I’m thankful/ Scratch that, baby, I’m grateful/ Gotta say it’s really been a while/ But now I got back that smile, smile.” The song is classic Perry with short catchy lyrics and a fun beat that gets stuck in your head for days. Smile ends with “What Makes a Woman,” an acoustic pop track with a twinge of sadness, a little similar to her old hit “The One That Got Away.” The reflective lyrics matched with a slightly melancholic melody really emphasize the nostalgic essence of the song.
Smile is one of Katy Perry’s greatest projects in years, and every song is worth the listen. With perfectly pop songs, signature Perry infectiousness and a hint of empowerment, this album is the best antidote for quarantine and lockdown blues. A great listen for pop fans in all walks of life.