Music from female artists nowadays feels way too packaged and overloaded with “flashy” gimmicks to get attention. In finding more unique artists it’s great to see vocal talent that isn’t overshadowed by background noise and creative lyrics that speak to everyone. The debut album by Katy Perry, “One of the Boys” is just such an album. I don’t buy many full-length CD’s but in listening to Perry’s (which I picked up on a whim) I’m going to go out on a limb to say it’s one of the better albums of the year.
The title track of the album “One of the Boys” is a catchy rock ode to being a tomboy and it’s a great opening song. The song has a 60’s girl group/Beach Boys surfer feel and has great lyrics about being seen “as a little sister” that almost any female can relate to. Where this album excels is Perry’s lyrics and “One of the Boys” shows off her storytelling-like quality. The next track is the current iTunes number one hit, “I Kissed a Girl” about a drunken kiss with a girl for attention. This is the song that put Perry on the map and it’s a fun dance song that you’ll easily be singing for hours…I know many an unsuspecting person who’ll burst out into “I kissed a girl and I liked it.”
The third track is “Waking Up in Vegas” about a…let’s all say it together…a drunken tryst in Las Vegas. This song feels a bit more Avril Lavigne-esque which isn’t a bad thing but it does have a bit too much pounding bass. The lyrics are fun, as are all the songs, but this one feels a bit more produced. This is followed by the ballad “Thinking of You” which reminded me of something Snow Patrol would come out with. It’s a sweet romantic ballad that will probably be played at many a prom but it also feels very mature at the same time.
The next few tracks are what I like to dub “guy bashing” songs. The first is “Mannequin” which tells the tale of a boyfriend who doesn’t show any emotion towards his girl. As Perry says “you’re not a man, you’re a mannequin.” This has a strong rocker-girl quality a la Kelly Clarkson only with a stronger voice. This really shows off Perry’s vocals as she has to hit high and low notes. The next song is the really hilarious “UR So Gay” about a metrosexual boyfriend. With lyrics about strangling a guy with an H&M scarf and how he’s “so gay but you don’t even like boys.” This is probably my favorite song because of its hilarity and Perry gives it a very boozy, cabaret feel that I haven’t seen utilized in many songs. It’s very reminiscent of Amy Winehouse vocally, but Lily Allen lyrically. Next is “Hot N Cold” about a guy who’s up and down. This has a very club-house beat, very danceable and really reminds me of Kelly Clarkson or Pink. I do see how many people can say that this shows Perry is a rip-off of other artists but where this album rises above is how Perry’s voice sounds, it’s very unique compared to other female centric artists and I keep saying it…her stories and lyrics are amazingly funny.
“If You Can Afford Me” seems very Alanis Morrisette themed and is a strong anthem about women. This song also highlights that Perry tends to use some explicit lyrics, in this case that she’s “not a piece of ass.” I think this is another great dance song and just seems like a song any woman could relate to.
“Lost” is a haunting ballad about being alone and really highlights Perry’s voice as it’s a very stripped down song. It’s just a guitar and a few background noises but it’s all Perry and it’s a lovely and haunting song which I really enjoyed. This is followed by “Self Inflicted,” another bumping song which really wasn’t any different from the previous tracks, nothing forgettable but nothing that wasn’t done better in the beginning. “I’m Still Breathing” is probably the most diverse in terms of comparisons. It’s very much in the vein of Jewel or The Fray in terms of lyrics and composition. I really loved this ballad and if you liked the previous artists mentioned above this song is the most reminiscent of their sound. “Fingerprints” is a great girly anthem at the end in the vein of Lily Allen or even Garbage which struck me. In listening to the whole album there’s really something for every music lover with Katy Perry.
Some critics are calling Katy Perry’s debut just a rehash of better artists but I think Perry is the strongest female vocalist we’ve had in awhile. All her songs strike a chord and there’s just so much diversity in every song. Definitely grab a copy of “One of the Boys” and I give it a 4.5/5.