NEW YORK (Reuters) - Singer Katy Perry wooed U.S. critics with her second major-label album release on Tuesday, packed with flirty, giggly pop songs, strong dance beats and plenty of “gurl-talk”.
The 25-year-old singer, who was once tagged as a one-hit wonder for the song that launched her to fame — 2008’s “I Kissed a Girl “ — released 12 new songs on “Teenage Dream” that includes the summer hit single “California Gurls.”
The album, whose packaging is meant to smell like cotton candy with an image of Perry lying naked on a pink cloud, features lyrics about sex, love, youth and relationships. It is due out in Europe and the rest of the world next week and has been heavily promoted as a fun summer record.
Rolling Stone magazine gave the album three stars out of five, declaring it “miles ahead of Perry’s breakthrough disc, ‘One of the Boys,’ with her clever songwriting boosted by top-dollar pros” including several top European music producers.
The album released by Capitol Records, owned by the EMI Group, is full of breezy disco beats that “is the kind of pool-party-pop gem that Gwen Stefani used to crank out on the regular,” the magazine said.
Perry’s affinity with being provocative and cheeky has tough competition from Lady Gaga and nothing on the new album “may match the sheer pop majesty of Madonna’s most memorable hits,” according to USA Today, but “the ambitious brunette serves up percolating confections laced with saucy humor and disarming earnestness.”
Perry, a California-born former singer-songwriter who started out by recording a failed gospel album in Nashville, Tennessee, is engaged to loudmouth British comedian and actor Russell Brand.
Critics noted her new album is similar to her hit debut pop album that also featured the hit “”Hot n Cold”” and since then she has matched Brand in promoting a similar over-the-top persona and raunchy, fun image.
The video for “California Gurls” features rapper Snoop Dogg and a scantily clad Perry — who was raised by Christian pastor parents — in lilac and bright blue wigs making her way through a fantasy candy land licking ice creams.
Music magazine Spin said Perry “delivers the gurl-gone-wild stuff with requisite sass” but was more impressive on quieter tunes that recalled her singer-songwriter days.
Reporting by Christine Kearney, editing by Jill Serjeant