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Katy Perry Teenage Dream

Katy Perry has gone far since her Ur So Gay days (though she still likes to misspell titles), spurring five top 10 singles in the US and breaking records along the way. Despite garnering negative feedback from critics, her previous album One of The Boys became a massive hit around the world, and who could forget the controversial I Kissed A Girl?

Teenage Dream opens on a high with the title track, a quiet storm that reaches its peak at the bridge, setting this mini explosion of nostalgia and warmth. What I love most about Teenage Dream is its sincerity and the way the track makes you... feel, in general. Ke$ha may be the queen of retelling nights of endless partying, but Katy takes the cake in Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.). Unlike the club-stomping half raps of Ke$ha, T.G.I.F. is a fun and quirky number with contagious chanting and a sax intermission.

California Gurls is still unimpressive even after the massive radio airplay. It's very generic, no matter how perfect a summer tune it is, and Snoop Dogg does more harm than help. Firework has a brilliant buildup to the chorus, which then bursts into a bajillion specks of magical rainbow-coloured bits and bobs. Katy Perry has proven time to time that she isn't shy—not one bit, and that's exactly what Peacock shows. But even with those slightly asinine lyrics, Peacock takes to a smart beat, and it's catchy to the point of annoying (a true Katy Perry song if you ask me).

Teenage Dream veers toward a grim route on Circle The Drain, where Katy warbles with poison in her veins, "Wanna be your lover, not your fucking mother | Can't be your savior, I don't have the power." The One That Got Away reverts Katy to her forte, and again, this is one of those tracks you just feel. A sliver of poignancy is present throughout the song, and though it doesn't level to Teenage Dream in terms of quality, The One That Got Away holds its own ground.

E.T., one of the early leaks in the LP, continues the dark ambiance set by Circle The Drain, and doesn't possess anything to stand out. Who Am I Living For is marginally better, because at least Katy Perry exhibits some vocal ability. The pretty lyrics in Pearl make it one of the better tracks in the latter half of Teenage Dream ("She was a hurricane, but now she's just a gust of wind"), but after hearing the onslaught of dreary-sounding tunes, Pearl is easily thrown into that pile of average to not-quite-there songs.

Hummingbird Heartbeat brings back the fun in the second half, a slightly rock number that's good enough to pull us out of the dismal mood set by the previous tracks. Not Like The Movies is Teenage Dream's Thinking Of You in a more syrupy and slow-paced form. Is it just me or does that wooden flute (recorder?) in the second verse sound awfully strange (and just plain wrong)?

Katy Perry succeeds in reeling us back to our teenage years, as feelings of love, lust, frustration, confusion, and fun reemerge in each of the twelve tracks. The first half of the LP shined in all its glittery splendor with songs Teenage Dream, Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.), Firework, and Peacock, leaving the latter half drained of a much-needed spark to lighten the mood. Teenage Dream is sheer brilliance at times, and no song falls below the 'average' line.



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