All those in attendance last night (September 5)–including Radio.com–got a chance to hear 12 of the 13 tracks off the record (the deluxe edition of Prism will feature 16) even though Perry started out the night saying she was only going to play 10. The singer said some of the tracks she played weren’t even finished yet and that she was still working on the final mix.
The album was recorded in both Santa Monica, California and Stockholm, Sweden, where she worked with Swedish songwriter and producer Klas Ahlund, who has collaborated with Britney Spears, Kesha, Madonna and fellow Swede Robyn. Perry admitted she was deeply influenced by Robyn’s style on this album.
She also mentioned that her friend DJ Mia Moretti was the “muse” behind several songs on Prism, including one called “Walking On Air,” which she wrote about a day the two of them spent together in Central Park. While there they saw a bunch of roller skaters doing skate dancing to deep house music and she wanted to create a song that would be perfect for these skaters to dance to. We think we know what the theme of this music video will be.
Other songs she previewed included “Double Rainbow,” a song she wrote with Greg Kurstin (Kelly Clarkson, Pink) and Sia, who wrote Celine Dion’s new song, “Loved Me Back To Life.” She also played a song called “Love Me,” written with another Swede, Bloodshy of Miike Snow, and “Dark Horse,” her next single (out September 17), which features a verse from Juicy J.
She called the big power ballad “Unconditionally,” which seems inspired by the feeling of falling in love, her favorite song on the record.
Though Perry originally said this album would be a lot darker than her last, she recently backtracked a little telling MTV she ended up turning the darkness of her divorce from Russell Brand into something a little more positive. “There’s not really any darkness on the record,” she said. “There’s definitely some textures and colors but I think I was saying that when I saw going through a different phase, but I really let that light in.”
But there were two songs that tackled darker subjects, one being “Ghost,” which Perry chose not to preface with any sort of explanation. Listening to the song though it could easily be assumed that it was her way of tackling all her post-divorce feelings.
Album closer,”By The Grace of God” talks of suicide, with lyrics that focus on someone who chooses not to take one’s own life. While the rest of the album was upbeat and mostly comprised of dance tunes, this one was a hymnal. Using an acoustic piano — clearly the instrument it was written on–the uplifting instrumentation keeps it from being depressing.
This morning (September 6), Perry also revealed the album cover for Prism, which is a sunlit closeup of Katy in a field of flowers that sticks with that Lisa Frank-feel she’s been copping throughout the early promotion of her new album.
Katy Perry (@katyperry) September 06, 2013
In the photo, which has Perry swathed in a pastel rainbow light, the singer shows off a more natural look with little makeup. It’s a big departure from her previous album, 2010’s Teenage Dream, where she was often seen dressed in brightly colored candy-coated creations.
The picture was taken by Ryan McGinley, who is known for his natural (often au natural) documentary style portraits of his friends. McGinley was also one of the youngest artists to have a solo show at the Whitney Museum of American Art.
Additional reporting by Courtney E. Smith