It’s like one of those nights that just keeps getting weirder.
You decide to meet up for drinks with a friend you haven’t seen since high school — about the same time Limp Bizkit’s Fred Durst and Christina Aguilera were in a promising relationship. You two had a little romantic chemistry back in the day, too, so far as you can remember.
The black sequin skirt and Hello Kitty sweater you wore at all of the football games still hangs in your closet, so out of innocent nostalgia and a chance to wear that beloved outfit again, you slip it on. You also remember how you put your hair up in a ponytail so high that it sprang out of your head like a fountain. Maybe it’s time to bring that back too. So you stand in the mirror with your Kitty sweater and fountain-like hair and think you look great because the guy you are about to see thought you were so cool back then.
You get to the bar where you and your friend decide to meet, and upon looking around the room at all of the well-put-together bar patrons with their tweed jackets and cute, flower-patterned dresses that scream, “I didn’t try hard to look this way, though I secretly tried really hard,” you realize that you made a terrible mistake.
The outfit you decided to wear does not portray the mature woman you have become, and it definitely doesn’t fit anymore. In a state of panic, you run to the dimly lit, trendy ladies room and feverishly try to change everything about the way you look, with the little options you have. The Hello Kitty sweater is turned inside out, the black skirt is pulled ever so slightly down to the knee. At a distance, you look like a back-up dancer on Madonna’s The Virgin Tour. But you keep the fountain hair. You have some integrity. As they say, “If you stand for nothing…”
Skip to the part when your date shows up and instead of promising to rekindle the romance, he drops the “I’m engaged” bomb and proceeds to show you Instagram pictures for the next hour. You leave, but before you do, you let out something really cool and unexpected like, “I like how you smell. Maybe in another lifetime….” You whip your tall ponytail and walk away to the beat of “Dreamlover” by Mariah Carey.
That is Prism.
Katy Perry plays the part of the girl who wants to relive the past, have lightning strike twice, as it were, but lets the prospect of getting to wear her Hello Kitty sweater (read: “Firework”) both motivate and inhibit her. So in a quick change of direction, she tries on a couple different looks — or sounds, if we’re breaking down this metaphor — and comes away feeling less Katy and more Ke$ha and ’90s you-name-it pop, with songs like “This is How We Do” and “Walking on Air.”
And the guy in the scenario? Dr. Luke, who is too busy getting engaged with “Wrecking Ball” to put his full production power into this somewhat disingenuous album. But don’t worry. Katy redeems herself in the end, as we all know “Roar” and “Dark Horse (feat. Juicy J)” will play on the radio long enough for us to forget that “Birthday” was even created at all.