Just the other night I had the chance to attend Katy Perry‘s exclusive listening party held here in Los Angeles (at Westwood’s Hammer Museum) where Katy played twelve tracks off her upcoming third studio album Prism (due out on October 22nd, pre-order on iTunes). The swanky event (filled with industry peeps and press) kicked off in the early evening with fancy appetizers and (strong) drinks (complete with prism shaped ice cubes). I ran into my NYC pal Bradley Stern from MuuMuse who was with Mike Wass from Idolator, we chatted at length on the current pop music situation (the usual suspects came up including Christina, Britney, Miley, Gaga, Marina, Lana, Celine, and of course Katy to name just a few) and we even got some gossip time in but my lips are sealed on that front.
After a couple of drinks we were escorted inside for the big event, which was hosted by Capitol Records executive Greg Thompson who started us all off with the “Roar” music video. Once that was finished, he introduced Katy who took her seat up front and got right down to business. She came across as extremely endearing, even a bit nervous as she played her new material. Heck, I’d be nervous too, how do you top a record-breaking album (Teenage Dream) that produced five number one singles? Well, the answer is you don’t, that would be an impossible feat, but I do think Prism is quite solid in its own right, and there are definitely tracks that could be potential hit singles. Below are some (scattered) thoughts about what I heard, to be fair I’d really need to listen to everything again (preferably with headphones), but this is what I remember!
• “Legendary Lovers” – Katy said this track was curry-infused, and definitely has a world music vibe to it. Totally strong track that could potentially be a hit. I’d also love to hear some dance remixes made from this one.
• “Birthday” (Max Martin and Dr. Luke) – Katy said this track was ‘Wendy & Lisa’ (Prince) inspired and she was totally right, a definite throwback vibe, full of innuendos (like ‘big balloons’). At the end Katy said you have to do ‘Everything with a wink.’ For some reason, this track made me think of “Peacock” although they don’t sound alike, maybe it was the innuendoes?
• “Walking On Air” (Klas Åhlund) – This track will be available on 9/30, and has huge potential to be a massive hit single. When I met Katy at the end, I insisted she release this as a single, I think it would be the perfect track to release after the huge success of “Roar.”
• “Unconditionally” – Katy said this is her favorite track off the album, it’s an uptempo type power ballad, that again has huge potential to be a hit. I’d like to think of this song as her follow-up to “Firework.”
• “Dark Horse” – This urban-infused track (featuring rapper Juicy J) will be available on 9/17 (right around the corner) and although it won the Pepsi ‘Katy Now’ campaign when it went up against “Walking On Air,” I think the latter track is much better.
• “This Is How We Do” (Max Martin and Klas Åhlund) Hands down my favorite track from Prism, I even told Katy this was my jam! I was dancing in my seat to this one, another retro type vibe that Katy said was inspired by the likes of 90s dance divas Cece Peniston and Crystal Waters. This just has to be released as a single, I demand it!
• “International Smile” – This was a fun track (that she dedicated to one of her best friends), that possibly has some commercial potential. I could see it easily being used in an ad for an airline. It name drops cities, it’s upbeat and Katy said wherever she goes, everyone always understands a smile.
• “Ghost” By this point, I think the Prism vodka drinks started to make things a bit hazy for me. It’s about letting go of the past but that’s about all I can remember!
• “Love Me” (Bloodshy & Avant) – Katy wanted to work with Bloodshy & Avant (who produced Britney’s hit “Toxic”), it’s another banger that could potentially be a hit.
• “This Moment” – This track was an LA exclusive (it wasn’t played at the NYC listening party), I liked it but I’d have to hear it again, remember that things are a bit hazy at this point.
• “Double Rainbow” (Sia and Greg Kurstin) – Of course the big songwriter of the moment is Sia, and although I totally adore her work, I really wanted to like this track more than I did, but to be fair, I really need to hear this ballad again to make a proper judgement.
• “By The Grace Of God” (Greg Wells) – I loved this song! It’s slow and personal (remember Katy’s strong Christian upbringing), I doubt it will be released as a single but I thought it was great, I also mentioned to Katy how much I loved this song, and she was super impressed that I remembered the title, she told me I was doing my homework!
After it was all over, Katy took time out to meet with everyone! I patiently waited my turn (I was dying inside) yet when she took my hand and we started chatting, my nerves were gone. She was warm, friendly and really listened to what I had to say, plus she told me that she loved PopBytes, I was honored! We snapped a quick picture and I was on my way. Many thanks to my peeps over at Capitol Records who were kind enough to have me down, they’ve always been good to me, I really appreciated the chance to hear one of the fall’s most anticipated albums before a lot of other people! Of course, I can’t wait to get another listen in, thankfully Prism‘s release is only a little over a month away. I do believe that diehard Katy Perry fans (aka Katy Cats) are going to love this album. Although it doesn’t top the cohesiveness of Teenage Dream (how could it?), Prism is definitely a worthy follow-up with a number of possible hit singles, bound to keep Katy in the pop charts for months to come!