The follow-up to Teenage Dream will arrive. Eventually. Sometime. Maybe. Sometime after The Complete Confection and The Baker’s Dozen Confections and Hey, I Heard You Were Getting No. 1 Hits So I Bought You Some More Confections. Even Katy Perry called it “the record that never ends” in an interview with MTV.
That interview with MTV’s a little more substantive than check-ins tend to be, a little more detailed than “yep, I’ve definitely got an album coming out, and I’m definitely going to have another album coming out, and I’m really excited.” The bit about her bottling her emotions is something that makes perfect sense in retrospect, for instance. That said, there’s one dodgy quote. This:
“I just think that it’s time for me in some ways to show where I came from. I’ve always just been me and my guitar; and I’m not saying I’m going to make that record, but I do want to get back to my roots.
The thing is, “me and my guitar” isn’t so much Katy Perry’s roots as an idea of roots in general, like if you rooted around in the earth for a while until you scrabbled up some guitar strings instead of dinosaur bones or sudden bugs. We’re a little compelled to fact-check her statement. Katy Perry’s career, like most pop careers, has plenty of roots, most buried by now. Which one of these could she possibly mean?
(But first, a note to science majors out there: Below are metaphors. We know that trees’ roots never, ever, ever go anywhere near the mantle and definitely not the core. But this is Katy Perry we’re talking about. She does everything in cartoon proportions.)
KATY PERRY’S ROOTS, CRUST: That album she did with The Matrix, the production team behind Avril Lavigne and a few Lauren Christy and Dollshead albums seven people heard. Katy Perry doesn’t like this album very much, judging by subtle-to-blatant quotes floating around. Nevertheless, it’s a root. A kind of a messy, sprawling one, but still: a root.
KATY PERRY’S ROOTS, MANTLE: The Glen Ballard days. Glen Ballard was Alanis Morrisette’s producer, and you can definitely hear a bit of Alanis’ influence in Katy’s vocal let’s-call-them-quirks. But you can hear them even more on the album they did together. It was shelved, but as is standard even for shelved albums, a few tracks trickled out onto movie soundtracks (below) or into Kelly Clarkson comebacks (“I Do Not Hook Up.”)
KATY PERRY’S ROOTS, CORE: Katy Hudson, Christian contemporary artist who doesn’t shock her parents anew with every pinup theme. These aren’t bad roots at all! For instance, the following song completely holds up. No, really: