The two albums I ordered came in today! Kaleidoscope Heart by Sara Bareilles, and Teenage Dream by Katy Perry.
From what I’ve heard upon first listen of Kaleidoscope Heart, it’s really good. Better than Little Voice even. It’s just really well produced, Sara and her piano are still usually at the heart of the songs, but there’s more involved. Altogether, the new album sounds more complex, and a lot of the melodies are just really catchy and good. There are even a few slow songs with the heart of her first album’s final track, Gravity. The album also begins with a really pretty acapella piece that has like 10 Sara’s harmonizing with one another.
On top of the music just being good, the album is beautiful! I thought I liked double-CD jewel cases. Then I thought I liked digipaks. Well, this album is technically a digipak, but it’s made on that seemingly recycled carboard that just feels so good in your hands and has a real heart to it, and on top of that you can’t get fingerprints all over it like you do regular albums. The booklet and CD both slide out from the inside in the fashion of the double-disc edition of Little Voice, which is a little hard to do for me because I like everything to stay in perfect pristine condition, and it’s hard to get a CD out that way without putting your fingers on both side or bending the case too much. But at any rate, it’s a wonderfully formatted album with pretty pictures, and really cool music.
Teenage Dream is another interestingly packaged album. I made a point of finding the digipak with Parental Advisory on it, because edited albums are just annoying. This is also from the first batch of albums, all of which are made using an ink that smells like cotton candy. And it’s true, that case and the booklet do smell like cotton candy. The cover is actually a painting of Katy, which is really surprising because it’s so detailed that it’s hard to believe it isn’t a photo. As for the musical content itself, I couldn’t listen to too much in the car with my mother, because of the swearing and the potentially awkward songs like Peacock, a spunky little superficial diddy about the size of a boy’s penis. Altogether, I want to have some faith in Katy Perry, but she continously makes herself look unintelligent and superficial, and her new songs tend to be of the party girl variety, but not really in the honest down-to-Earth way Kesha does it, more of a vague applies-to-all-drunken-people sort of way.
That being said, I was so impressed with the title track that it pursuaded me to buy the album, and it’s one of my favorite songs to cover on piano, I’m not sure why but Teenage Dream just gets me emotional, and the video is really sweet. It reminds me of having sex for the first time, and falling in love. It’s a song that has brought me to the point of tears and caused me to smile uncontrollably. In general, Katy Perry isn’t superpop like, say, The Fame Monster, her songs are more of an acoustic rock-pop. I still enjoyed the feel of One of the Boys, and this album seems to communicate the Katy Perry-ness of the first album pretty well, and her thank-you liner notes were very sweet.
I know I’m usually hard on Katy Perry, but she’s one of those take her or leave her pop stars. She doesn’t claim to be a master of all things art and music, she just makes music, and you can take it or leave it. I don’t exactly think she’s one of the most brillaint modern day singer-songwriters, but her music isn’t bad.