“Smile” vividly illustrates Katy Perry’s journey throughout life

Marking the week of the 10-year anniversary of her third album “Teenage Dream,” Katy Perry released her sixth studio album, “Smile,” Friday, Aug. 28. “Smile” evokes nostalgic feelings of her goofy and quirky style, discussing her low points and eventually embracing happiness. 

Perry starts off her album with “Never Really Over,” a collaboration with German DJ Zedd. The narrative of a recurring relationship is coupled with a bouncy and electro-pop melody. With her strong vocals, she keeps up with the staccato articulation and high notes in the post-chorus. Her endearing, uplifting messages about taking steps forward and backward in life sets the tone for an album filled with stories of resilience and hope. 

Continuing with her themes of self-empowerment, “Daisies” pairs delicate guitar strings with synth programming for an overall folksy-type tempo. “Daisies” starts off with a soft, mellow beat and gradually transitions to a more upbeat rhythm. Perry started writing the acoustic ballad while she was clinically depressed. However, the song reflects her journey of trying to “find the light at the end of the tunnel,” she told New Music Daily Radio. Emphasizing strength and individuality, the anthem relies less on the colorful and bright vibes to which Perry tends to gravitate and once again showcases her powerful and inspired vocals.

“Smile,” returns back to the album’s more fun and high-energy tempo. The instrumentals overpower her voice but contribute to the dance-driven groove of the album. In the song, Perry talks about struggling with failure and rejection before being able to smile again. “Champagne Problems” and “Tucked” follow the same instrumental pattern set by “Smile.” All three tracks feature a funky, disco-mixed vibe that seems perfect for summer. 

With “Smile,” Perry relies on her overused, bubblegum pop style of music that differs from the EDM elements in her previous album, “Witness.” Although both albums deal with themes of self-help and empowerment, “Smile” emphasizes the ideas better than “Witness.” Nonetheless, Perry’s album recounts her struggles to arrive at a point of comfort and happiness in her life, bringing much-needed optimism during this time.

By Alison Ho, Media editor-in-chief
Photo courtesy of Clash Magazine

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