Two pop queens try to make a splashy return


Last month saw the kickoff singles of two major female artists as they begin their respective buildups to their third albums.  Both saw mega success in the past, and normally a lead-off single offers a hint of what’s to come.  Let’s examine the latest from Katy Perry and Lady Gaga.

To begin, I should note I had a post queued up on this a couple of weeks ago.  I basically panned both songs.  I’m not enamored with them completely even having chewed on them a bit more.  But I’ve warmed to them a bit.

Perry’s new single, to this listener, rides the annoying line a bit too close.  The chorus is a bit grating, and the music backbeat and message feel a bit too close to Sara Bareilles’ recent hit “Brave.”  It doesn’t seem to have the same compelling nature as the rock-tinged tracks of her first album, or the dance-driven beats of the second. On repeated listens it has gotten a bit better to me, but I still it’s not quite to the mark of her other output (I felt the same way about “Teenage Dream,” but was in the minority there too). Hopefully the remainder of the album picks up from here.

Lady Gaga’s “Applause” hits closer to her wheelhouse than Katy Perry’s does to hers, but to me I almost can’t help but feel that the track feels like a cast-off from her first two albums. The beat is similar in feel to those on her first album, and it just doesn’t feel like much of an evolution.  That said, it’s on the catchy side, and probably will do OK for her.

Given the quick evolution of music in the past couple of years, it’s somewhat surprising to see what two marquee talents have provided; neither are a leap forward, nor set a new bar for either artist, which is a bit disappointing. But this is just the first volley in what will be a long run for their new albums.

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