Sometimes it takes a village to build the perfect pop beast. And this time the villagers, so to speak, have outdone themselves.
Katy Perry's fourth full-length release PRISM, out October 22, boasts no fewer than 20(!) esteemed songwriting collaborators … and the result is an album that could generate practically the same number of massive hit singles.
PRISM's 16 tracks — a radio-ready mix of "Firework"-ian empowerment anthems ("Roar," "This Moment," "Choose Your Battles"); daft, punky party-starters ("Birthday," "Walking On Air," "This Is How We Do," "International Smile"); and soundscaping ballads that bring to mind Florence Welch's machinery ("Legendary Lovers," "Unconditionally," "Double Rainbow") — feature many of the unimpeachable collaborators behind the success of Katy's One of the Boys and Teenage Dream, such as Max Martin, Dr. Luke, and Bonnie McKee. Fellow modern-day songstresses Emeli Sande and Sia also play a part.
Katy dueted with John, whom she recently described as a songwriting "genius" in an interview with Billboard, on his latest album, Paradise Valley. And John returns the favor on PRISM, lending his trademark bluesy guitar to "It Takes Two" and, more notably, sharing the microphone with her on their sexy co-write, "Spiritual."
Despite its title, "Spiritual" isn't exactly a return to Katy's Christian music roots, back when she was known as innocent little Katy Hudson. It seems the higher power that Katy is worshipping these days is John Mayer himself, judging by loved-up lyrics like, "Lay me down at your altar, baby/I'm a slave to this love/Your electric lips have got me speaking in tongues" and "I have prayed for a power like you to see deep down in my soul." Racy phrases like "sweet ecstasy" are used liberally as well. When Katy and John's sultry voices blend in the chorus, they take the song to church, but not in the way her Pentecostal-pastor parents probably imagined when their daughter first started out as a gospel singer.