Today, August 28, Katy released hers sixth studio album — "Smile". It comes three years about "Witness" and, according Katy, is about overcoming pain and getting your smile back. After the enormous success of "Teenage Dream" and "PRISM", Katy found herself in a different situation when she released "Witness". It felt like, all of a sudden, people were not there for her anymore. Despite the album debuting at number one on the Billboard 200 albums chart with 162,000 pure album sales in the USA, it quickly dropped to number 13 the following week. None of the singles from the album topped the Billboard singles chart - with the highest being "Chained to the Rhythm" at number four. In comparison, five singles from "Teenage Dream" and two singles from "PRISM" went number one. The critics have generally always been harsh to Katy, but they were even more so during the "Witness" era with the album getting 53/100 from Metacritic and 4.8/10 from Pitchfork. The underperformance of the album has led Katy to depression which she talked about in various interviews in the past few months. Then, Katy tried releasing droplets which would guide her what music direction she should take for the next album. In 2019 four of them were released – “365”, “Never Really Over”, “Small Talk” and “Harleys in Hawaii”. “Never Worn White” was released in March 2020 which she revealed her pregnancy with. “Never Really Over” and “Harleys in Hawaii” performed better and eventually were included in “Smile”. The official lead single — “Daisies” — was released on May 15, followed up by the album’s title track on July 10.
Listening to the album, it looks as if Katy is in a better shape than she was a few years ago. It might have become clear that she might not be a record breaker anymore, however, I think it is much more important to make music that reflects the artist’s feelings and emotions. This is what I have done with my music projects and what I plan to keep on doing for the future. “Smile” has definitely made me smile. It is a very Katy album — catchy pop songs, reminding me of her older records. Some of the songs give me melancholy vibes while also making me feel happy and hopeful. Initially, I was not sure if I was enjoying the title of the record, as well as the cover. Now, as the album is already out, I think that both fit the content excellently.
I have already listened to the album multiple times and I cannot say which my favourite songs are. I like that they are all different sonically. I am also fan of short albums, as they are usually more cohesive and give more of a premium feeling to the project, as there are less or no fillers. Out of the seven previously unreleased songs, I immediately loved “Champagne Problems” and “Only Love”, although I really enjoy all of them. If it was up to me, I would not include “What Makes a Woman” on the album, as it is my least favourite, and would replace “Harleys in Hawaii” with “365”.
Katy has been has been among my favourites for 10 years now
and each release has coincided with important events in my life. “PRISM
” was released just when I started high school and “Witness
” when I graduated. Now, “Smile
” is released just before the beginning of my last year at University — which will undoubtedly be a tough and important time of my life. I am already seeing myself listening to “Smile” when it becomes hard and reminding myself, I can cope with everything
— the same Katy coped with her struggles, became a mother and released a new album, which, hopefully, will become a fan-favourite!Stream "Smile"
Photo by Christine Hahn