I know, I know…if you read this blog regularly you know this is completely out of left field for the site. Katy Perry actually has a special place in my heart. Her first three Katy Perry albums were when my kids were really little. They loved her and would act out the songs almost daily and we have some great videos capturing those special moments. And when we were in the car, they would sing at the top of their lungs when her songs came out. As a result, when I hear those songs today, it takes me back to those amazingly fun times with my kids. She has been able to imprint a memory with her songs and that is hard to do. My oldest is away and at college and I have to say I miss her terribly. So to keep her in my thoughts, I figured why not rank all Katy’s albums from worst to first.
You might not know that Katy Perry came out with her first album back in 2001 when she was Katy Hudson and a Christian singer, then she became a sugary, sweet pop princess and for awhile she ruled the airwaves. Now she’s a judge on American Idol and she still puts out albums, but the massive fame and craziness has slowed down a little (at least on the radio). Like her or not, she was the driving force in the industry and what she did, people noticed and paid attention.
We are only going to go through her studio albums, no live albums or E.P.’s or any compilations (which I am not sure she has one yet). So sit back, relax and I hope you enjoy and maybe learn something new.
THE WORST: Katy Hudson (2001):
Before she was the pop princess we know now, Katy Perry was known as Katy Hudson and was a Christian singer. And what do you get with her 2001 debut, you get an album that sounds nothing like the sugary-pop stylings that you know and love, but more of an Alanis Morissette vibe going on with this one. She also has a real jazzy style at times and I have to say for a Christian album, it is far from boring. Katy can sing, there is no doubt about it, but it is still not as entertaining as you’d hope. It is a little dark sounding, but what would you expect if she is channelling her Alanis vibe. And yet, a Christian album…kinda weird. Being so different from how we know her today, it is a hard listen, but if you want something different, this definitely meets that criteria and in all honesty, isn’t half bad.
#5 – WITNESS (2017):
After such a long hiatus from her previous album, ‘Prism’, the expectations were high on what she would do next. This was not the path we were hoping for, in my opinion. Where the last album saw her put herself in to the music and had some raw moments, this was pure pop, sugary sweet, tooth rotting follow-the-leader nonsense. She wasn’t blazing any new trail with this one, she was following the herd especially by adding Nicki Minaj to a song. Hell, who has done that already. I also found her annoying. It is strange how that happened. With Prism and prior, she was fun, entertaining and engaging. Here she was grating on my last nerve whether in the songs themselves or the interviews. This album felt forced and like she really didn’t put any effort in to it. Now, it isn’t all bad as some of the songs were kinda fun like “Chained to the Rhythm”, “Bon Appetit” and “Hey, Hey, Hey”. Otherwise it was a lot of filler and no heart.
#4 – SMILE (2020):
Now, I am not sure if this album is really any better than ‘Witness’, but I found her less annoying and actually back to being likeable. The first two tracks, “Never Really Over” and “Cry About it Later” are way better tracks than anything on ‘Witness’. As a result, she sucked me back in. Songs like “Daisies” and “Smile” also grabbed hold of me and I found myself listening to this way more than the previous one so for that I like it more. It is still no where as good as where she was with her biggest albums, but it is a step in the right direction. Her charm had returned and no denying that voice. And funny enough, I actually started enjoying her on American Idol (which I do rarely watch).
#3 – TEENAGE DREAM (2010):
I am sure this is a surprise as this is probably her biggest album and the one that made her a superstar and there are some great songs and videos, man the videos in this were great. Plus she is pretty sweet to watch. The only reason it isn’t higher for me is that all the songs aren’t great. “Peacock” is pretty awful (yet amazing catchy too) and the last few song felt like filler. However, this thing is packed with some powerhouse pop songs like “Teenage Dream”, “Last Friday Night (TGIF)”, “Firework”, “E.T.” and of course “California Gurls”. Plus, if you get Snoop Dogg on a song, you win points easily. My girls built a little catwalk and would strut their stuff and singalong with these songs and that memory is engrained in my head as we had never laughed so hard. This album gave us a lot of great memories.
#2 – ONE OF THE BOYS (2008):
The debut Katy Perry album (though not her actual debut since it was as Katy Hudson). The album that made people take notice especially with the controversial track “I Kissed A Girl”. Hard to believe that is controversial today, but it was. The whole album was a little naughty and a whole lot of fun. She burst on the scene as the one to watch…a trailblazer…and a troublemaker. All those things were pretty enticing and you couldn’t help get sucked in. It was brilliant. Songs like “Waking Up in Vegas”, “Hot N Cold”, “Ur So Gay” and “Thinking of You” all were well crafted pop songs and when you put them to video with her looks and charm and magic was born.
#1 – PRISM (2013):
In the 3 years since ‘Teenage Dream’, Katy had been through a lot. A failed marriage with Russel Brand and the price of fame. All those things led to an album that felt way more personal. She laid it all out to bare for the world to see with no fear and no excuses. Listen to “By the Grace of God” and tell me that doesn’t pull the heartstrings. The album was full of so many amazingly catchy songs and I think were some of the best she has ever done. From the opening track “Roar” to “Dark Horses” Katy showed the power of being a woman. Then you get songs like “Unconditional” and “Legendary Lovers” which both gave you soaring choruses. The album felt like a matured Katy and that she had become a woman and a pure force to be reckoned with. To me, this album showed a side of her we hadn’t seen and one we welcomed with open arms. To bad she went backwards after this one and didn’t grow from here. This was her pinnacle, her masterpiece and my #1.
And there you have it, the Katy Perry studio albums in order of how I rank them from the worst to the best. Let me know what you think. Where did we differ and where did we agree. What is fun about these list is how differently each album impacts people. What I like, you might not, but we like the same artist and that is all that matters really. And if as a result, you find something new, then my job is done!!!