Earlier this month, Her Campus at Chapel Hill sat in on an interview with Katy Perry. Yes, I was in a Zoom room with Katy Perry. The interview was charismatic, personal and enlightening. Most importantly? We got the scoop on Katy Perry's new album, Smile, which comes out tomorrow. Here's what you need to know.
Even on my phone's little screen, Katy Perry's personality was captivating. Wearing a pink robe and a scarf with white daisies — surely an ode to her song, "Daisies," which came out earlier this year — Perry was energized and gracious with her time, cracking jokes or referencing her "pregnancy brain" when losing her train of thought.
While Katy Perry never could've predicted what 2020 would look like — aside from a contentious election, which we all saw coming — the album has some parallels to the year's events. Written during the darkest time in Perry's life, in which she was clinically depressed and felt "flatlined," the album's main themes are hopefulness and resilience. These themes are extra-prevalent right now, as COVID-19 continues to threaten people's health and day-to-day lives — something which UNC students are all too familiar with as cases skyrocket and classes go online. We definitely need hope and resilience this semester, and Perry hopes that her experience of walking through "hell and getting through it," choosing to live and make plans will resonate with listeners today.
[bf_image id="qfjhdz-fcqig8-60tvm2"] Smile looks to be a crowd-pleaser as well. Perry notes that sonically, Smile has the "pure pop" elements of Prism and Teenage Dream. However, she was sure to avoid fitting a genre mold — that's an "old narrative" — but rather this album's sound is what she wants to create. Katy's already achieved massive commerical and critical success, allowing her to work on a record without the pressures of having to follow a set path. Mentioning she felt like she was put in a box throughout her career, Perry hopes to show more layers with tracks like "What Makes a Woman." The track is shaped by her own pregnancy, and is also inspired by the millions before her that have also endured pregnancy. Perry acknowledges that the song itself is a trick question, stating that women are "so expansive" and hard to pin down; we are undefinable. Akin to how Perry felt her pop-persona put her in a box that didn't allow for further exploration, women are so multitudinous that it's restricting to attempt defining us or pin us down.
Along with summer jam "Smile," Perry's upcoming album includes fan-favorites "Never Really Over," "Daisies" and "Harleys in Hawaii." We look forward to hearing the rest of the album and reveling in her themes of hope, resilience and empowerment.
Smile is out on August 28.