Wednesday, November 23, 2011

On Katy Perry's Unplugged One Doesn't Need Many Words To Pan These Two Discs!

The Good: Well, the alternate versions of “Thinking Of You” and “Lost” aren’t terrible.
The Bad: Short, Video adds nothing substantive to the presentation, Songs are still largely banal pop
The Basics: A c.d. and DVD from Katy Perry’s MTV performance on Unplugged, Perry tries to milk her album’s hits with acoustic versions and a video which are not at all indispensible.

Following my spinning of Teenage Dream (reviewed here!), I continue to get in more works by Katy Perry, who is possibly one of the whitest artists on the market right now. This is never more clear than it is on MTV’s new two-disc set Katy Perry Unplugged. If Perry seems like an odd choice for Unplugged, getting the discs will not clear up the oddity; musically and visually, she is a strange choice for the acoustic performance show.

With only seven songs on the c.d., Unplugged is Katy Perry singing five of her songs from her smash album One Of The Boys along with the Fountains Of Wayne song “Hackensack” and her new song “Brick By Brick.” To her credit, Perry co-wrote all but “Hackensack” and she performs the lead vocals on all of the songs. She even plays her guitar on some of the songs. Still, this is an anemic use of the medium as the music only half an hour of the c.d.s capacity.

Stripped of severe production elements, Katy Perry’s pop hits are presented as mild, less throbbing songs which are simply banal pop numbers as opposed to annoying pop-dance songs. Perry is backed by guitars, bass and mild drumming and she makes “I Kissed A Girl” more of a jazz song than the pop version virtually everyone has heard. “UR So Gay” is a muted acoustic song in this incarnation that is so dull, Perry sounds like she is sleepsinging it. In fact, it is only on the songs “Thinking Of You” which she presents as a soulful pop ballad and “Lost” where she stumbles through with a bit of wistful loss she barely emotes in this live performance. In fact, “Lost” sounds more like a musical lecture than it does a pop song.

Most of Perry’s songs are hampered by poor writing. Songs are repetitive “(UR So Gay”) or have very predictable rhyme schemes (“Brick By Brick”). She even manages to sap the energy out of “Waking Up In Vegas.”

Katy Perry Unplugged comes with a second disc, a DVD which features all seven tracks being performed on the MTV show and an interview with Perry. The interview is unenlightening and offers no real insight into the performer or her process. Before each track for the concert, Perry introduces the songs and her introductions vary from barely articulate ramblings (“Lost”) to self-referential plugging (“I Kissed A Girl”). She does not satisfactorily explain how someone billing herself as a faith-based good girl could do what the musical protagonist of “Thinking Of You” does.

Ultimately, fans will be unimpressed seeing a crowd more active than Perry is on stage and musically, this is not enough of an improvement over her produced stuff to warrant buying.

For other female artists, please be sure to visit my reviews of:
300 Days At Sea - Heather Nova
The Best Damn Thing - Avril Lavigne
21 - Adele


For other music reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!

© 2011, 2010 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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