Katy Perry’s Smile didn’t make me smile

After a weekend of on-and-off listening to Katy Perry’s new album Smile, I admit I found myself unconsciously humming a line or two in the shower. At times I’d crack a smile, but most of my time spent listening to the 12-song album prompted a skeptical raised eyebrow.

As a whole, the album left me with mixed feelings. It lacked.

To be clear, I’m no Katy Perry diehard, but I have been known to enjoy hits like “Last Friday Night” (2010) and “I Kissed a Girl” (2008).

Since her 2001 debut album, Katy Hudson, the artist has recorded six more albums and made a name for herself with an Emmy nomination, seven Grammy nominations, four People’s Choice awards and various other awards.

Last week also marked the tenth anniversary of her eight-time platinum 2010 record Teenage Dream.

In the last decade, Perry has become commonly recognized as the “clown” of pop. Hence it came as no surprise when the album cover for Smile pictured her dressed in a cartoonish harlequin collar and clown nose.

The titular song’s music video features Perry playing a clownish video game in which she selects “sad clown” as her character — perhaps a nod to her reputation, perhaps simply an attempt at a fun, playful tone.

Katy Perry's new album "Smile" out August 28 - http://katy.to/smileID

Listen to "Smile" here: http://katy.to/smileID

Get "Smile" merch here: http://katy.to/KPshopID

Katy Perry Complete Collection on Spotify: http://katy.to/SpotifyCompleteYD

Katy Perry Essentials on Apple Music: http://katy.to/AMEssentialsYD

Watch your favorite Katy videos on YouTube: http://katy.to/MusicVideosYD

Follow Katy Perry: Website: http://katy.to/WebsiteYD

Instagram: http://katy.to/InstagramYD

Twitter: http://katy.to/TwitterYD

Facebook: http://katy.to/FacebookYD

Weibo: http://katy.to/WeiboYD

VK: http://katy.to/VKPageYD

Director: Mathew Miguel Cullen

Story by: Mathew Miguel Cullen, Josh Chesler

Production Company: London Alley

Executive Producers: Luga Podesta, Brandon Bonfiglio

Producer: Andrew Lerios

Production Supervisor: Alex Randall

Director of Photography: Jeff Cronenweth

Production Designer: John Richoux

1st AD: David Goldstein

Post Production Supervisor: Ivan Ovalle

Video Commissioner: Targa Sayhoun

Animation Studio: Nathan Love

NATHAN LOVE

Animation Producer / Director: Joe Burrascano

Executive Producer: Jon O’Hara

Art Director: Anca Risca

Production Designer / Illustrator: Tim Probert

Designer / Illustrator: Ellen Su

Motion Graphics Design & Animation: Sam Feske

Technical Directors: Jin Fang Jiang, Polly McGuire

CG Artist: Jin Fang Jiang

FX Artist: Josh Clos

MIRADA

Creative Director: Mathew Miguel Cullen

Post Producer: Sacha Flick

Editor: Darren Richmond

Character Design: Vivian Ly, Jing Zheng

Lead Storyboard: Max Forward

Additional Storyboard: Michael Lee

FLOOUL ANIMATION

Producer: Pedro Conti

Production assistant: Gustavo Ribeiro

Color Key: Pedro Conti and Victor Hugo Queiroz

CG supervisor or CG Lead: Pedro Conti and Victor Hugo Queiroz

Pipeline: Pedro Conti and NoOne Studio

Visual Development artists: Victor Hugo Queiroz, Pedro Conti, José Manuel Linares, Alexandre Jose Assunção, Lincoln Horita, Magno Coutinho.

Character modeling leads: Victor Hugo Queiroz and Pedro Conti

Character modeling: Gustavo Ramos, Leo Rezende, Jose Manuel Linares, Lincoln Horita, Magno Coutinho.

Environment modeling leads: Jose manuel Linare and Pedro Conti

Environment modeling: Victor Hugo Queiroz, Alexandre Jose Assunçao, Gustavo Ribeiro, Gustavo Ramos, Fabio Scied.

Look Development supervisor: Victor Hugo Queiroz and Pedro Conti

Look development artists: Gustavo Ribeiro, Fabio Scied, Guilherme Proença, NoOne Studio

Grooming: Victor Hugo Queiroz and Pedro Conti

R&D: Fabio Scied, Pedro Conti, Victor hugo queiroz, Marcelo Souza.

Effects: Ivan stephan, Victor Hugo Queiroz and Pedro Conti

Lighting leads: Pedro Conti and Victor Hugo Queiroz

Lighting and compositing: Gustavo Ribeiro, Fabio Scied, NoOne Studio

Finances: Karina Cunha

Render Farm: Rebus Farm

LITTLE ZOO STUDIO

Executive Producer & Director: Jason Taylor

Production Manager: Jackie Munro

Animation Supervisor: Todd Wilbur

Animators: Paulo Lombardi, Kevin (Hoa) Nguyen, Matt Walker, Renato Sena

RIGGING

Rigging Supervisor: Rijah Kazuo

Riggers: Danilo Pinheiro, Vitor Augusto Mariano, Tamires Garcia

Blendshape Supervisor: Mayara Scudeler

VFX/ Beauty: Hoody FX

VFX supervisors: Ivan Khudoliy and Veronika Rozenberg

VFX Artists: Maxim Sychev, Dmitry Kornilov, Stanislav Burenkov, Alina Shuryhina, Viktor Meshukov, Alexey Elenskiy

1st AC: Paul Santoni

DIT: Michele DeLorimier

VTR: Gennadi Balitski

Gaffer: Gideon Markham

Best Boy Electric: Daniel Carrillo

Electrics: Matthew Hall, Francisco Pinon

Key Grip: Charles Lenz

Best Boy Grip: John Serino

Dolly Grip: Otis Mannick

Grip: William Tully

Art Director: Cristina Bidagor

Set Decorator: Leah ByChurch

Set Designer: John Jalandoni

Set Dresser: Cassie Hunter, John Hirsch

Carpenter: Andrew Montagnino, David Gaughran

Art PA: Oscar Araujo

2nd AD: Eric Topp

Production Assistants: Gabriel Shadwick, Nicholas Fiore, Francisco Flores

Location Rep: Phillip Ahn

Covid Officer: Gola Rakhshani

Director Rep: Tommy Labuda

Assistant Editor: Luis Caraza

Colorist: Siggy Ferstl @ Company 3

Color Producer: Matt Moran

Stylist: Samantha Burkhart

Assistant Stylist: Damien Lloyd

Seamstress: Farrah

Makeup: Michael Anthony

Hair: Jesus Guerrero

Nails: Kim Truong

Music video by Katy Perry performing Smile. © 2020 Capitol Records, LLC

http://vevo.ly/zLPmTo

However, the album’s playfulness feels out of place amid a global pandemic, the Black Lives Matter movement and a looming presidential election. In the past, Perry attempted to produce “purposeful pop” with her 2017 album Witness, which was met with harsh backlash from fans claiming she was out of step with the political and social climate.

Smile felt like an attempt to recapture the light, goofy nature of songs like “California Gurls.” Instead, it seems like Perry tripped and fell over her own clownish boots.

The simple fact is that Perry isn’t getting any younger. At 35 years old, she’s engaged to Orlando Bloom and gave birth to the couple’s daughter, Daisy Dove Bloom, last week.

As she ages and matures, her music seems to stay frozen in 2010. Occasionally, she’ll break away from her usual upbeat pop vibes.

Whimsical single “Daisies” (presumably a nod to her newborn daughter) speaks of growth and overcoming others’ doubts.

They said I'm going nowhere

Tried to count me out

Took those sticks and stones

Showed 'em I could build a house

They tell me that I'm crazy

But I'll never let 'em change me

'Til they cover me in daisies

Daisies, daisies

In an interview with NPR, Perry said of her new album, “I think this is going to be the beginning of the wholeness of me, not just one part.”

In actuality, it seems more like an attempt to grasp the old Perry and mask her in the semblance of something new. Songs like “Smile” and “Harleys in Hawaii” sure sound a lot like 2010 Perry, while “Not the End of the World” and “Teary Eyes” seemingly teeter on the edge of something new.

Think Katy Perry masked as Dua Lipa but with bigger sad girl vibes. As I’m sure you can imagine, it doesn’t quite hold up.

In the TikTok era of stars like Megan Thee Stallion and Doja Cat, past icons like Perry look washed out in comparison.

This isn’t to say that none of the new album was enjoyable, but let’s just say you’re unlikely to blast Smile at your next party that you’re not having because of COVID-19.

I’m not confident Perry will be able to continue producing hits, but only time will tell. For now, she needs to realize that to keep up with a thriving pop industry, she’ll have to get with the times.

It’s not 2010 anymore, Katy.

@CecilLenzen

features-editor.shorthorn@uta.edu

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