Very much from the Alanis Morissette / Fiona Apple / Avril Lavigne school of North American singer-songwriters, Katy Perry rose to prominence through breakthrough single, -I Kissed A Girl’ and that song perfectly encapsulates all that’s good and awful at the same time about the Californian pastors’ daughter’s brand of teen-punk. Ostensibly a heavily marketed role model for disaffected teens, Perry is the girl-next-door, who may just be hiding fishnets in her handbag: this is cartoon punk, wearing lipstick and eye-liner.
Melody-wise, there’s nothing much wrong, with each of the dozen tracks possessed of the kind of catchy pop-rock chorus beloved of FM radio programmers the world over, mixing elements of guitar rock, disco stomp and driving Daft Punk-esque synth slabs in equal measure. It’s Perry’s vocals that are the real problem, alternating between a puppy-dog snarl and an adolescent whine, often in the same verse.
There are some positives: the title track and post-breakup -I’m So Breathing’ have just the right amount of sass and suss to keep things interesting, the burlesque -Ur So Gay’ is actually quite funny, while the breathy -Mannequin’ is dressed up in shiny pop sequins (although again the over-wrought vocals detract hugely from what’s otherwise a decent tune). Less successful is the hair-pullingly awful power ballad, -Thinking Of You’, the faux-disco of -Hot N Cold’ and the formulaic closer, -Fingerprints’, which has Katy yearning to break the mould: isn’t it ironic, dontcha think? Everything about Perry screams fashion statement: pity, then, that she’s the Penney’s of the musical high street.
‘I Kissed a Girl’