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You can trace Katy Perry’s evolution through her range of celebrity perfumes. The first appeared in 2010 under the name ‘Purr’. Aw, sweet. Then came 2011’s ‘Miaow’; a bit cattier this time. But her new scent really unsheathes the claws: it’s called ‘Killer Queen’. Have a whiff of that, Russell Brand. The singer’s failed marriage to the libidinous funnyman is the background to Perry’s change in image from saucy all-American gal to Indomitable Woman with Proper Feelings; a shift in emphasis that her fourth album Prism is expensively – and effectively – designed to cement.
Mostly produced by Swedish chart-pop maestro Max Martin and his US protégé Dr Luke, it’s a sleek, impressive exercise in big-budget pop, from the infectious self-affirmation anthem “Roar” to the confessional power ballad “By the Grace of God”. The innuendo-laden Perry of old isn’t entirely eradicated: her Cher-channelling tribute to a night of wild passion, “Walking on Air”, goes way over the top. But the overall mood lies a long way from the frothy likes of “I Kissed a Girl”. Different guises are adopted – 1980s Madonna on “Birthday”, 1990s Mariah Carey on “This Is How We Do” – without a hint of a smirk. The singing is powerful and versatile. Perry’s place at the top of pop’s A-list is secured.