After the historic run that Katy Perry's 2010 album Teenage Dream had, the SoCal pop star's upcoming album, Prism (October 22), has a lot to live up to.
Teenage Dream debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and produced six Top 10 singles. It even delivered five No. 1 singles, making Katy the second musician ever (besides Michael Jackson!) to claim that title. So, you know, no pressure.
After releasing the album's reissue (Teenage Dream: The Complete Confection), Katy went off the grid for a bit. During that time she got divorced from Russell Brand (sad face), died her hair back to black, got a little spiritual and started hooking up with John Mayer. A lot has changed. And we'll hear that play out on Prism.
The album's anthemic first single, "Roar," arrived in early August and sold 557,000 units its first week (earning Katy's highest-selling first week ever). But can Prism break Teenage Dream records? We'll find out soon. In the meantime, here are five things we know for sure about the upcoming album.
1. It's Gonna Get Dark
Since first hitting the studio to work on the new album in late 2012, Katy has said that Prism will be "darker" than Teenage Dream. She did go through a divorce, after all. And those things aren't exactly full of rainbows and cupcake bras.
She told The Sun in 2012, "My music is about to get real f-cking dark." And her longtime collaborator, Bonnie McKee, seconds that notion. Speaking to Extra TV about "Roar," Bonnie said, "It has that same kind of energy [as 'California Gurls'], but it has a little twist of darkness and perseverance behind it."
And let's not forget the first "Roar" teaser. A (literally) dark-haired Katy is seen lighting her infamous blue wig on fire. So it's safe to say you can put the Manic Panic away... for now.
2. The Collaborators
Katy has worked with pop music's most successful songwriters and producers since well before her Teenage Dream days—she co-wrote her 2008 hit "I Kissed A Girl" with Dr. Luke and Max Martin. Why mess with a perfect equation?
Many of Katy's past collaborators signed up to work on Prism, including Dr. Luke, Max Martin and Bonnie McKee. And this time Diplo, Sia, Klas Åhlund (Ke$ha, Madonna, Robyn) and Greg Kurstin (Britney Spears, Kelly Clarkson) are also rumored to have songwriting and production credits. UK pop phenom Emeli Sande also has a co-writing credit on one of the album's tracks.
3. Dear John
John Mayer and Katy Perry's relationship has been heated since the beginning. Even though the on-again, off-again couple were broken up when Katy talked to Vogue earlier this year, she told the magazine she "was madly in love with [Mayer]. I still am madly in love with him. All I can say about that relationship is that he's got a beautiful mind. Beautiful mind, tortured soul."
Apparently that beautiful mind and tortured soul inspired a few songs on Prism: "It Takes Two," which speaks to Katy's part in the couple's breakup, and "Unconditional," an anthem about "absolute love." Katy told Elle UK, "I wrote it when we were still apart, and I just played it to him. He was really moved."
Katy also teamed up with John for their duet "Who You Love," a track off of his new album Paradise Valley. Seems like these two might be in it for the long run.
4. Confirmed Songs
We know of seven tracks expected to be included on Prism, which is basically a full track list! Yes!
- "Roar" - Prism's first single
- "Double Rainbow" - Katy told Billboard that Bonnie McKee came to the studio one day after yoga "and said, 'I want to write a song called "Double Rainbow.''' So we have a song called ‘Double Rainbow.'"
- "Bad Photographs" - Katy played the song in "its rawest form" for Vicki Woods, who wrote her Vogue feature. She told Woods, "I titled it 'Bad Photographs' because the idea is that when people are in a relationship they only take photographs when they are happy, and sometimes when it ends you realize maybe it would be important to take photographs when it's not happy."
- "It Takes Two" and "Unconditional" - Both are about John Mayer
- "Dark Horse" and "Walking On Air" - Fans are currently voting on which song will be Katy's next single at katyperry.pepsi.mtv.com.
5. It's Not a Competition
Katy was always planning on releasing "Roar" on August 12, but when Lady Gaga's "Applause" leaked the weekend prior, Gaga dropped her first ARTPOP single the very same day... which pit music fans against each other, causing a near a-POP-calypse! (Not to mention some hilarious GIF reactions.)
But that's not what Katy or Gaga want their new album cycles to be about. Speaking to AMP Radio, Katy said, "It's all about the music and I really agree with [Lady Gaga's] message. I've always been a fan of hers and like to see her evolution... I believe in her message of harmony of fans. It's about the music. You should honor all artists who make good music and serve up something special for your ears."
Gaga agrees. She told Ryan Seacrest, "I really like Katy Perry and respect everyone in this industry because it was really hard for me to get here and I’m sure it wasn't easy for her to get where she is." Come together, KatyCats and Little Monsters!
Katy Perry's fourth album, Prism, drops October 22.