While Katy Perry's "Roar" growled its way to the Billboard Hot 100 summit last week, PDs and others in the industry are already focusing on potential future hits from "Prism", her studio set due Oct. 22.
Capitol Records hosted an industry listening party, or a "Prism preview," as Perry dubbed it on the spot, Thursday (Sept. 5) at Solo in New York. Capitol Music Group executive VP Greg Thompson hosted the proceedings onstage with the star, who, with the coronation of "Roar," now boasts eight Hot 100 No. 1s. (A funny line from Thompson after the just-unveiled "Roar" video was shown to the room. Referring to Perry's tiger co-star in the clip, he noted: "Kitty Purry's gotten a lot bigger . . . ")
Here's a sampling of guests' reaction to hearing 11 tracks from the album for the first time, along with what other songs from the set could follow "Roar" up multiple charts. That attendees offered a variety of answers as to what songs should be released as singles appears to be a good sign of the album's depth and commercial appeal.
Justin Prager, Music Choice director/music and talent: "You can hear a maturity all over Prism. 'Roar' is a great start and there are other gems like 'Double Rainbow,' 'Legendary Lover' and my choice for the next single, 'This Is How We Do.'
"I'm glad that Perry didn't go too deep into the current EDM sound. She instead went for more of a '90s house vibe on a few tracks. Overall, though, the album is pop.
"This time around she's also doing it all with a little less of a smile on her face, given everything she's been through [e.g., her divorce from actor/comedian Russell Brand] over the past couple of years."
Sharon Dastur, WHTZ (Z100) New York PD: "It's always a large task for any artist to follow a record-breaking album like Teenage Dream [which yielded five Billboard Hot 100 No. 1s, the first set by a solo female to do so and just the second overall after Michael Jackson's Bad in 1987-88]. But I'm beyond impressed at the magic that Katy has created once again. Incredible production and killer hooks.
"My absolute favorite so far is 'Unconditionally.'"
Rick Gillette, WNOW (92.3 Now) New York PD:
"When I first heard [Perry's 2008 breakthrough hit] 'I Kissed a Girl,' I thought, 'Great little novelty song.' Then I met her and knew instantly there would be so much more.
"I like 'Prism' very much. It's different than 'Teenage Dream', but very Katy Perry. Another evolutionary step for her. I think my favorite is 'Walking on Air.' Her description of it [Thursday] was perfect: CeCe Peniston and Crystal Waters wrapped up in a 2013 groove."
Dylan Sprague, WXKS (Kiss 108) Boston PD: "I really like 'Dark Horse,' with Juicy J. The last song of the night, ballad 'By the Grace of God,' stood out, too.
"Multiple hits, no doubt."
Ellen Carvello, Carvello Music Management: "There seem to be many hits on this album. Beyond 'Roar,' which is amazing, I really like her homage to CeCe Peniston and Crystal Waters.
"Following Teenage Dream is tough but she brought us some great pop music. She makes fun music that we can sing along to. That's what it's all about."
For more about what's been revealed about the sound of "Prism" so far, read Billboard.com's review of Thursday's session here. (This author agrees that the hooky, uptempo "Birthday" is a future No. 1 Hot 100 contender, with other smart possible single choices including fellow pop/dance track "International Smile" and mesmerizing ballad "Ghost.")