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Review: Katy Perry’s “Smile” album delivers mostly frowns

By Julissa Sanchez | @july_jewels

Singer-songwriter Katy Perry is no longer the teenage dream of American pop music that she was once known for. Contrary to the name of her latest album, “Smile” rarely warrants a grin as only three of its 12 songs are worthy of becoming hits while the rest were true misses.

Released on Aug. 28 by Capitol Records, “Smile,” Perry’s sixth studio album, includes a mixture of pop, electric beats and mellow notes in its 36-minute runtime.

Although the inspiration behind the album was to reclaim happiness and find the light at the end of a tunnel — the light was nowhere to be found. Although each song is meant to reflect Perry’s journey toward resilience and hope after her separation with actor Orlando Bloom, the musical elements lack the fireworks of Perry’s previous albums.

With inconsistencies in the style of the tracks, the layout of ‘Smile’ is doomed a failed mission. Each song tends to jump from one catchy beat to a slow, sad tone and back to a funky beat with little flow. Though some songs captured the theme and delivered interesting instrumentals, most seemed to be lost in this journey — including “Harleys In Hawaii.”

The album’s highlights consisted of three songs that most strongly exhibited the Perry panache.

At number one on the tracklist, “Never Really Over” — originally meant to be released as a single in 2019 — skillfully captures the conflicting heartaches of a recently broken-up couple. With its catchy beats and lyrics, this song almost feels like an updated version of the breakup anthem “The One That Got Away.”

Another hit, “Cry About It Later,” is an upbeat track coupled with a quirky animated music video that can seem a bit out-of-place. This second track is a perfect pick-me-up song with a hint of electric tunes that pairs well with a late-night drive on the freeway.

Lastly, on the hit list of the not-so-hot album and taking the sixth spot on the tracklist, “Not the End of the World” brings a combination of Perry’s “Chained to the Rhythm” beat and Steam’s “Na Na Hey Kiss Him Goodbye,” with lyrics taken quite literally. Mashing up themes of hope and love, Perry uses the iconic “na-na-na-na” chorus from Steam’s all-time hit with her own twist.

It was unfortunate to see that “Smile” did not do as well as Perry’s previous albums and failed to reach the level of today’s hit streaming tunnel. Listeners can only hope for her next album to redeem itself after this doomed one.

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