Stuck in a limbo between attempting to be heartfelt and attempting to be fun, of which it was neither, this annoying work proved to be nothing but a money grab stemming from the monotonous and uninspiring melodies.
These horrible melodies were simply inexcusable. If a musician is trying to create music that is worthwhile and passionate, they cannot dig themselves in such a hole as this. By her extremely flat, bland, unchanging, and boring lines, Katy Perry easily set herself up for failure. Not to mention she is not a good singer at all, and while that’s more of a timbral issue, it greatly hinders the melodic deliverance. This became an unforgivably tedious listen due to each melody after melody being the same old dull, idiotic line. On a large scale, none of them possessed any strong qualities, and they all sounded like each other. She didn’t seem to get the message that her popular song “Roar”, written a couple years back, was completely awful and shouldn’t be replicated. Perry seemed to be tone-deaf to the rest of the music around her, never working at all with what the harmony was giving except for on one song, “Miss You More”, where she may have just gotten lucky. I actually stopped taking notes on the melodies after a while because nothing about them was changing at all. The absolute worst on the album was “Tsunami”. I cannot fathom how one can feel any strong emotion other than disgust when hearing these lines. At least they had presence and didn’t completely vomit all over the place. They just had a huge lack of substance and shape to them while being paired with an untalented singer. Katy Perry cements herself as one of the worst musicians of her generation with her failures here.
The absolute only value this music had was its occasional timely arrivals at dominant or pre-dominant chords at the ends of phrases. These arrivals served as both nice small surprises and good transition points to new sections. The songs “Roulette” and “Swish Swish” did best at this. It’s interesting that unraveling phrases like this actually requires thought and intuition, but absolutely nothing else about the harmony seemed to have any sort of careful thought or effort to it. Why was only one small aspect of the harmony done to a nice degree while everything else was so cringe worthy? My hypothesis is that one of Perry’s songwriters among her entire crew actually has a strong ear for harmonic tendencies, and those musical moments were simply their small influence showing amidst the collective weakness. These harmonies had no good rhythm, no color, and no imagination. Even when trying to be as simple as possible with a slow I V vi IV progression, the seemingly foolproof way to have sensible movement, no energy or secondary layers were added to keep the music from merely crawling to the finish line. Keeping it simple and unambitious did actually save the music from being utterly disastrous. The neat rhythm in the second to last song, “Pendulum”, displayed the type of presence that the rest of the music really missed out on. There is a lot to work on here, starting with broadening her harmonic language, if Katy Perry is ever going to make acceptable music.
While digging a hole with her wretched melodic lines that she was unable to overcome, she preceded to shoot herself in the foot by creating very uninspiring and empty layers of sound that went against any worthwhile goal she may have had. The result came to sound like nothing but an obvious money grab, devoid of any good marketable energy or deeper meaning. It was neither heartfelt nor fun. The sound was a meddling mess of contrived texture builds, small blips of unimportance, and petty organization that led nowhere. The song “Mind Maze” was, in one word, disgusting. While the synthetic sounds were not disdainful in themselves, their obvious and unchanging uses dampened this music a rather unbearable amount. A little funkiness from the beat here and there couldn’t overcome the vast lameness of the overall timbre. I wouldn’t go so far to call it disastrous, but the sound was certainly unappealing and was detrimental for the music in giving off any potential meaning with its complacency.
It’s the same old question of “what did this musician do to earn so much exposure?”. As always, I’m not here to answer that, but only to sigh and pretend to forbid you from listening to it. She’s a huge name, and this will be the 2017 summer jam for many innocent people. You just need to let it have its day and move along.
Final Score: 70/180