August 28, 2020


Katy Perry – Smile (Capitol Records)

Since joining the Fairly KickAss Familia (I’ll explain later), I’ve developed a greater appreciation for pop music, in all its glorious forms.  I’ve reviewed several great pop albums, including some that thoroughly surprised me in how good they were, most notably Carly Rae Jespen’s Dedicated Side B.  I’ve reviewed some pop albums that weren’t all that great.  But, Dear Readers, I must tell you that I have not reviewed a pop album with as much disdain as I will be reviewing Katy Perry’s latest release Smile with.

This isn’t one of those situations where feelings about an artist permeate to all of their works.  With Katy, I’ve enjoyed several tracks off of a wide range of her albums: from the early days of “Hot N Cold”, “The One That Got Away” and “E.T.”, to the later hits in “Roar” and “Dark Horse”.  But Smile is just… it’s just bad, y’all!

Most of Katy’s work on Smile is lifeless, listless, and phoned in, like a generic “My First Pop Album” kit that I’m surprised Walmart doesn’t already sell.  This album has everything: shoehorned electronic bits and Auto-Tuning (“Teary Eyes”), awful lyrics (“Never Really Over”: “Just because it’s over doesn’t mean it’s really over/And if I think it over, maybe you’ll be coming over again/And I’ll have to get over you all over again”), shitty hooks (“Smile”), and whatever the golden fuck “Champagne Problems” is.

Now, Momma taught me to say something nice if I’m saying anything, so here’s my nice thing: island-y romance bop “Harleys In Hawaii” is a very solid, catchy track, and love letter to love “Only Love” is decent.  Listen to those tracks, and spin some of Katy’s earlier albums if you gotta get your fix… but you can leave the rest of Smile on the shelf.

FFO: Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato

-Z.

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