1. Teenage Dream
The second single from the record is another massive Max Martin (Britney/ Kelly Clarkson/ Pink) track featuring his trademark processed guitar sound. It’s also got his trademark catchy hooks and almost risqué lyrics.
2. Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F)
More highly enjoyable shiny pop from Max and Dr Luke (Ke$ha/ Pink) about nights out partying and even, (gasp) breaking the law. “Pictures of last night ended up online, I’m screwed. Oh well!” sings Perry. It even includes a “ménage-a-trois” reference!
3. California Gurls
One of the best pop tracks of the year no doubt. Snoop doesn’t contribute much but the beat and care-free lyrics still add up to a massive feel-good hit. Though we have no idea how it took three top producers- Max Martin, Dr Luke and Benny Blanco- to craft the very simple beat!
A more synth-y house beat drives this song which almost sounds like a Calvin Harris track when the “baby you’re a firework!” chorus kicks in. The slightly clunky lyrics (“boom boom boom, even brighter than the moon”) are saved by Katy showing off her vocal skills for the first time on the album. You’ll have no doubt that she’s got a cracking voice after hearing this song.
Like Fireworks production on this track comes from Swedes Stargate (Kelis/ Beyonce/ Ne-Yo) It’s underpinned by a ‘hey mickey’ like clapped beat but is best when it gets going with a bleepy and bassy sound. It’s the song you’ll be shamelessly dancing round your bedroom to.
6. Circle The Drain
This is certainly one of the best tracks on Teenage Dream. Tricky Stewart’s
guitar-heavy production reminds of MTV of Rihanna’s more rock-focused moments (he worked on Umbrella). And the lyrics attack Perry’s ex Travis McCoy
in no uncertain terms. She sings “you fall asleep during foreplay” before adding “you think you’re so rock n roll but you’re just a joke.” Ouch.
7. The One That Got Away
Another Martin/ Dr. Luke track about teenage innocence and “making out to Radiohead.” Reminscent of Britney’s early tracks.
Hopefully a future single. It’s drama contrasts with the more lightweight California Gurls and Teenage Dream. The beat is almost like dubstep with its heavy bassline, kick drum and overloaded drops.
9. Who Am I Living For?
Another downbeat Tricky Stewart track that sounds like it should be on a glitchy Timbaland album. Her wailing showcases Katy’s strong vocal range as she sings about “standing on the frontline as the bombs start to fall.”
The most nondescript track on the album. Skip.
11. Hummingbird Heartbeat
A nice companion to Teenage Dream, “the story of the birds and the bees” is more grown up with proper guitars and Katy “craving for a taste of your stick, your sweet.” The chorus with the “hummingbird heartbeat” refrain is also incredibly catchy. Another possible single.
12. Not Like The Movies
Teenage Dream’s one proper ballad is a sweet way to end the album. With stripped back production it again proves that Perry’s raw singing voice is better than many people think.
By Tom Thorogood.