Katy Perry is young, beautiful, successful and set to marry the hilarious Russell Brand.
You expect her to apply herself, too? Please.
When she works hard, Perry can hold her own against any of pop's 20-something leading ladies - from Lady Gaga to Britney Spears. Sure, her current smash "California Gurls" is a fizzy-pop concoction of empty calories, but it sure does stick with you. That kind of craftsmanship takes effort, though, and judging from the number of lazy, unfocused songs on Perry's new "Teenage Dream" (Capitol) album, she kind of lost interest in that.
"Think I need a ginger ale," she concludes in "Last Friday Night," a tale of drunkenness so slapped together it relegates her to Ke$ha-wannabe status. "That was such an epic fail."
"Do you ever feel like a plastic bag?" she wonders in "Firework," cribbing from Lady Gaga's little-monster esteem-building classes.
What makes these songs so annoying isn't that they're awful, it's that they could have been great. Perry lays her often-clunky lyrics over state-of-the-art up-tempo pop built by the likes of Max Martin and Dr. Luke. Give the backing tracks from "Hummingbird Heartbeat" or "The One That Got Away" to any one of hundreds of artists to write to, and they would have built them into hits. Perry turns them into vague filler.
"Teenage Dream" has its moments. The ballad "Not Like the Movies" shows both Perry's vocal range and her emotional one, while "Pearl" with its lush, '80s-styled drama, is masterfully handled. Too bad Perry doesn't strive for that more often.
She's hot, and she's cold - again