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October 15, 2018

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CD review: Katy Perry

Teenage Dream


Katy Perry, Teenage Dream

The Details

Katy Perry
Teenage Dream
Two and a half stars

Teenage Dream is the perfect title for an album by Katy Perry. Like an adolescent, the pop singer craves attention—but her version of controversy (kissing girls, showing skin) is as innocuous as a Michael Cera character. A frothy sense of fun permeates Dream, with mixed results. The title track—a paean to innocent love built around soft-glow techno-pop and robotic guitar—is a knockout. So is “Hummingbird Heartbeat,” a keyboard-stacked piece of schlocky ’80s hard rock, along with the Gwen Stefani-ish “Peacock.” The rest? Hit or miss. Ballads such as “Not Like the Movies” are thin and sappy, while dated lyrical slang (“biatch,” “epic fail”) and “E.T.,” a stab at mainstream hip-hop, are embarrassing. You can’t fault Perry for trying new things, but Dream is curiously devoid of personality. And in the post-Gaga pop world, a collection of well-crafted songs isn’t enough; competence is nothing without sincerity and emotional connection.

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