This week we're gonna talk about Katy Perry's 2010 album Teenage Dream
Released the day before my 12th birthday, Teenage Dream is one of Katy Perry's most recognizable albums and widely loved by many of her fans. Producing such hits as "California Girls," "Teenage Dream," "Firework," and "E.T." to name just a few, the album received surprisingly mixed reviews upon release. However, retrospective critics look back on this album with high praise and it frequently tops year-end and decade lists for 2010. Even with all the criticism, this albums received 7 Grammy nominations.
Before work started on the album, Perry told Rolling Stone that she wanted to "keep the album pop" as to not "alienate" her audience, and work started in 2009 involving collaborations with people like Dr. Luke, Benny Blanco, Rivers Cuomo, and Ryan Tedder. She described it as "a summer album" and would take inspiration from bands like ABBA and The Cardigans. In early 2010, Perry revealed that the single "California Girls" was a response to Alicia Keys' "Empire State of Mind." She was glad that everyone has the New York song, "but what about LA?"
Surprisingly, I did not purchase this album, rather adopted it. In the Summer of 2013, my family made a trip out to Ohio to visit the amusement park Cedar Point (completely unrelated to this blog but if you're into roller coasters I highly recommend the trip out) and while out there we made a stop at the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. Since I had just recently got into vinyl, my whole family was into it as well. In the gift shop, I purchased Pink Floyd's The Wall (which I might eventually make its own post about), my older brother got Foo Fighters' Greatest Hits, and my younger sister got Katy Perry's Teenage Dream. My brother and sister's interest in vinyl died quickly, but I kept on with it and eventually ended up inheriting both albums.
First of all, look at that beautiful opaque white vinyl. Anyway, when this album came out, I sort of avoided it because it looked "girly," but as I matured and expanded my musical horizons, I decided to revisit it. Now you can catch me cruising down the highway, windows down, screaming the chorus of "Teenage Dream." It wasn't until I did a full listen of the album that I realized how many of these songs shaped my teenage years. Gather a room of people currently in their mid to late 20s, throw on "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F)," and I guarantee everyone will be moving. I especially want to highly some of my favorite deep cuts "Who Am I Living For" and "Hummingbird Heartbeat," the prior a highly underrated song and the latter of which never fails to make me feel good.
Onto the physical album itself, this is a prime example of theming. To compliment the sugary, poppy music that Katy Perry delivers, we get highlights of sweetness everywhere you look. On the cover, she is nakedly lying in a cloud of cotton candy, the inner gatefold has her in a wrapper dress, adorned with candy necklaces, a wand, and candy crown. Anywhere the letter "O" appears, it's been replaced with a peppermint from track list, to the lyrics sheet, even to the record sleeves. Back to the lyrics sheet, you get a nice 12" x 12" peppermint bordered piece of paper, giving appropriate credit to all who worked on each song, and allowing you to sing along to your heart's content.
To put it nicely, don't be like younger me, disliking an album because "it looks girly." Create your own opinions on music; listen to the whole album and then make a decision. This doesn't only have to apply to music, it should be for just about everything in life. In the case of Teenage Dream I was dismissive at first, but once I actually gave the album a listen, I can now recommend this album to anyone.