Moments you missed in Katy Perry’s Smile album
Katy Perry released her sixth studio album Smile to millions of KatyCats on August 28, 2020.
The pop singer unleashed the album in the middle of what turned out to be a wild 2020, amid a pandemic, protests against race-based injustice, and millions of lost jobs. For Perry, changes have been afoot on a personal level too, on top of adjusting to the pandemic. In the years since her last album, Perry got engaged to fiancé Orlando Bloom, celebrated the birth of her first child Daisy, and overcame a period of clinical depression.
Her way of managing all of this is through, you guessed it, her music. And, as a worldwide pop superstar who is known for inspirational hits like “Firework,” her hope is for Smile to put smiles on fans’ faces. Perry wanted Smile to be a “picture of RESILIENCE & GRATITUDE,” as written in the album’s liner notes.
The album itself was resilient in its own release, as Smile went through “unavoidable production delays” pushing the release back by two weeks, per People. Perry addressed these delays on social media, writing in part, “If there’s anything 2020 taught me, it’s to not get too attached to plans and be malleable.”
Just as Smile missed its original deadline, here are some major moments from the album you may have overlooked.
Smile came out on the anniversary of Teenage Dream
With a pop career spanning more than 12 years under her belt, Katy Perry has amassed 34 Billboard Hot 100 singles including nine No. 1 songs, five charting albums including her MTV Unplugged EP from 2009, and millions of KatyCats from around the world.
Of her past work, her top-selling album was Teenage Dream in 2010. This makes sense considering the album had five No. 1 singles, “California Gurls,” “Last Friday Night,” “Firework,” “E.T.,” “The One That Got Away,” “Not Like The Movies” and of course, “Teenage Dream.”
What fans may not realize is that Perry released Smile on the same week of the 10th anniversary of Teenage Dream, according to The New York Times. With Teenage Dream, Perry made a record-tying Billboard achievement. Michael Jackson’s Bad was the only other album to achieve five No. 1 singles on one album.
It’s hard to say whether the timing of the release was on purpose. Citing “production delays” as the reasoning behind the two week hold-off of Smile in August 2020 could’ve been an excuse for what was really a strategic move. Regardless, August 2020 is a busy time for KatyCats, be it for Smile or for some decade-long nostalgia.
Fans didn't love the album cover
Prior to releasing her sixth studio album Smile, pop artist Katy Perry gave fans a first look at the album cover. Fans, however, met the singer with mixed feelings about the album cover’s appropriateness.
For Perry, Smile is supposed to be a moment of gratitude and encouragement for herself after working through depression. The album cover depicts Perry in a clown costume with a red nose frowning, a typical cartoonish response to the real life fans typically see from Perry. However, the timing of the project made the cover art seem possibly tone-deaf, considering all that has happened in 2020. Per The New York Times, “Perry was once again accused of being out of step with the times.”
But Perry defended the cover. “When you look at the album cover for Smile, you see me as a sad clown and then you see the smile kind of in this Smile font. It’s not me going, ‘Hey, smile!’ or ‘Shoving happiness down your throat!’ or ‘You gotta stay positive! You gotta stay optimistic!’ It’s melancholy. It’s satire, it’s melancholy,” said Perry in an interview with Zane Lowe on Apple Music (via Billboard).
Katy Perry made Smile out of a dark place
In 2017, pop star Katy Perry released her fifth studio album Witness, which was Perry’s first album not to produce any No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 singles. The seeming decline of her pop success, on top of a breakup with then-boyfriend Orlando Bloom, sent Perry into clinical depression. In an interview with The Los Angeles Times, Perry said that in the past she would deal with her emotions via songwriting, but this was different.
“I just couldn’t get out of bed for weeks and became clinically depressed and had to get on medication for the first time in my life, and I was so ashamed of it. I was like, ‘I’m Katy Perry. I wrote ‘Firework.’ I’m on medication. This is f**ked up,” said Perry in an interview with Zane Lowe on Apple Music, per Billboard.
The singer continued, “I found my smile, but I’m not stupid enough to think that it’s going to stay this way forever if I don’t keep doing the work. Smile is a real representation to me, the record is a representation that I got through it and overcame to the other side. I’m not saying I’m gonna always be on this other side. I could, you know, fall backwards. The mind can trick you, right? But at least I have this touchstone now of a body of work that says, ‘No, you did it once. You can do it again. It’s possible.'”
The album gave insight into her pregnancy
At the same time that pop singer Katy Perry was preparing to release her sixth studio album Smile, she was also preparing for motherhood.
Perry and fiancé actor Orlando Bloom welcomed their baby girl Daisy Dove Bloom just over 24 hours before the album dropped. The singer took to Twitter to say, “delivering a baby and a record in the same week, dont f*ck with mama aka #whatmakesawoman #smile.” The tweet pointed to a song from the album “What Makes A Woman.”
In an interview with Zane Lowe on Apple Music, Perry said that managing mom life and music life will be a new balance. “I don’t want to ever choose between being a mom and doing what I love,” said Perry, per Billboard. “That is so archaic. I think the f**king reason why women get the responsibility of creating another life is ’cause they can f**king do it all in a pair of heels b***h. So it’s not about choosing! It’s about balance… And that, in turn, is why I wrote ‘What Makes a Woman,’ b***h!”
Leading up to the album’s release, Perry announced her pregnancy via the music video for “Never Worn White” and even gave a sneak peek into her daughter’s name Daisy with her single “Daisies” off the album.
The album may be about Orlando Bloom
As in much of pop music, Katy Perry’s album Smile gives insight into her personal love life. The singer wrote “Never Worn White” for her fiancé, and has admitted that the 2020 album is filled with songs about their relationship.
“For us, and you can hear that even in ‘Champagne Problems,’ which is a song on the record, you can hear that we’re not flaunting how in love we are. We have been through f**king hell,” said Perry to Zane Lowe on Apple Music (via Billboard).
The singer is talking about her fiancé, Pirates of the Caribbean star Orlando Bloom. The two had an on-and-off relationship before getting engaged in 2019. At the time of their split, Perry reached such a low point that she considered suicide.
“Dating is different than real relationships. You’ve got to make a choice every day to be in this relationship and to work hard on yourself with someone that’s mirroring you so intensely. Like he doesn’t let me rest. He’s not Katy Perry’s biggest fan. He’s here for Katheryn Hudson. He’s here for – building!” said Perry to Lowe.
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