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5 Things You Need to Know About Katy Perry’s New Album, Smile

I’ve been a fan of Katy Perry since “Teenage Dream” released almost ten years ago, but after attending a press conference for her new album, I love her even more. Katy Perry's album Smile released on August 28, but here are five things you need to know before listening: 

Smile reveals Katy’s recent mental health struggles and how she pulled herself out of one of the lowest points in her life.

When asked about her upcoming album, Katy said, “I wrote this record during one of the darkest times of my life,” explaining that she was clinically depressed and felt “very flatlined.” Katy expressed that she was in such a “negative loop,” which has happened before, but this time she “couldn’t solve it.” In her song “Smile,” Katy sings: “Ego check saved my life, had a piece of humble pie.” She admitted that “the Universe served me, and at the moment I wasn’t excited for it or happy about it, but once I got the ability to zoom out a little bit, I understood that I was going to have a greater foundation, character, and depth because of going through those peaks and those valleys.” I found this inspiring because many of us have had similar feelings of depression and loss this past year, but we can only take the hardships and grow from them.

If you love Katy’s pop hits like “Teenage Dream,” you will love this album.

According to Katy, “This record, musically, is a lot like some of the tones of ‘Prism’ and ‘Teenage Dream.’ It’s really pure pop, and I love that. I really love leaning into the pure pop aspect of my life.” I am always here for a pop anthem, so I’m looking forward to this! She also said, “There’s a little escapism…like in 'Cry About it Later,' which is really about drinking too much champagne on ice and getting under someone to get over someone,” a feeling many have experienced before. The record, which shows Katy’s recovery and growth, “is synonymous with themes like hopefulness, resilience, joy,” something we all need to pull us through this year.

Her song “What Makes a Woman” is the girl power anthem of 2020.

Katy’s pregnancy really caused her to think about what makes a woman, and the beauty of womanhood is that there is no singular definition. “It’s almost a trick question, because if you can actually answer what makes a woman…if you have some definite statement, you may not be a woman, because it’s so expansive, beautifully complex, undefinable, and hard to measure, because women are so many different things,” said Katy. She explained, “A lot of people publicly would like to put me into this box especially from 2008 to 2016, it was this one thing, right? Because actually honey, there’s a lot of layers here, and I’m going to start showing off more of them.”

We’ve grown up with Katy Perry, and she loves to watch us grow with her over the years.

When asked about her college-aged fans, she said, “Some of you remember me with the black or blue hair, all the candy and all that stuff, which is amazing… but, you were 10 or 12 years old and you had friends and you listened to ‘California Gurls.’ And now, you are becoming adults and you’re dealing with a lot of different things, like having your own jobs, your own lives, dealing with college.” I can remember loving her music at a younger age, but her new album connects with my current stage of life. Just as her fans have grown, Katy explains, “I am growing as an adult human, woman, and soon to be mother, and I always am constantly sharing my journey…so yes, maybe these themes are a little bit more mature…but I’ve grown up with my audience and we are growing together, and it’s nice.”

Katy Perry strives to fight injustice through her music and actions, big and small. 

Katy has always worked to promote equality and empower women, especially those in the LGBTQ+ community.  She explained, “I’m grateful for the journey and growth… For me, growing up how I grew up, which was very one frame of mind… I really broke out of that mold but had to do some reeducation, and I’ve done a lot of that reeducation in the spotlight. For me, I guess I was born innately with this sense of justice… whenever I see inequality in any way, shape, or form, it stirs me and makes me furious.” Katy said she fights for justice in her own way, “and a lot of that is representation and local. I think you have to start within your family and the rewiring of that and your friends. I think it’s amazing to go out and change the world, but if your sh*t is wack at home, you got to deal with that first.”

I loved experiencing Katy’s vulnerability and strength during this press conference. My favorite quote of hers was: “Life gets real the longer you live it, but it does get more expansive if you can survive it.” I completely agree. The lowest points of my life have led me to the brightest moments, and I can’t help but be grateful. Be sure to check out Katy’s new album Smile out now!   

Madeline is a senior studying public relations at the University of Alabama. She launched the Her Campus Alabama chapter in 2020. When she's not obsessing over liquid blush and lip gloss, she's day dreaming about moving to New York.
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