Monthly Archives: January 2015

Sound ‘Round: Beyonce / Katy Perry

Super Bowl Divas

Beyonce – Beyonce (Columbia, 2013)

Beyonce - Beyonce

I’ve never bought into the Queen Bey shtick. Not only is it a lazy marketing ploy, but her braggadocios demeanor renders her a caricature and restricts her stadium-filling voice. She’s too gargantuan a personality to ever drop the royalty act, although she tries to play an every-woman on the opener which protests feminine vanity – a sentiment hard to swallow from a celebrity as image-conscious as they come. When she’s not posturing, however, she’s conquering the bedroom on a string of suites more concerned with equating pleasure as power than following rigid strong structure. In her sexual kingdom, she’s in command: “Let me sit this ass on you and show you how I feel.” She’s also a tease: “Let me kiss you and lick your lips.” And finally, a comedian: “He Monica Lewinsky’d all on my gown.” Above all, she’s a doting mother who saves the best love song for the finale. While a line like “Make it last forever,” would fit on the Kama Sutra jams just fine, here it’s a tranquil plea for a child’s unending embrace. It’s enough to remind you she’s a real person after all. To quote Mr. Knowles: “I do say it’s the shit, if I do say so myself.” GRADE: A-

Key Tracks: Drunk In Love” / “Partition” / “Blue

Katy Perry – Teenage Dream (Capitol, 2010)

Katy Perry - Teenage DreamOn this multi-platinum megahit, Perry went from Warped Tour novelty to certified starlet. That her sophomore effort matched Michael Jackson’s Bad with five consecutive Billboard chart-toppers is fitting. Just as MJ’s Thriller follow-up is equally full of hits and duds, so too with this California girl. After rolling out four-straight bangers regarding hopeless romance, weekend benders, bikinis and self-empowerment, the schmaltz takes over. Perry prides herself as a pop star with a knack for songwriting, but many of her verses lean tacky or outright reek of melodrama. Songs concerning selfish love and crises of faith are devoid of melody or vocal charm, and put cavities in her candy-coated aspirations. What salvages perhaps the most top-heavy album of the decade is the durability of the hooks that exist, including the title track – an anthem I’ll cherish until the day I die. GRADE: A-

Key Tracks: Teenage Dream” / “Firework” / “The One That Got Away