Thanks to all the column inches regarding her latest crazy outfit, or her coming marriage to the scruffy British comic Russell Brand, it's easy to forget that Katy Perry is famous for being a singer. And having conquered the world of sugar-coated, bubblegum pop in 2008, with One of the Boys, Perry is back with her latest album, Teenage Dreams. As the title suggests, Perry would like us to believe she has matured (albeit only slightly), but Teenage Dreams fails to bring anything new to the table. Sure enough, Perry has never sold herself as anything but a tongue-in-cheek performer, but for someone who told Rolling Stone magazine she wanted to "keep it pop… but with a little more meat on the bones lyrically" she fails rather miserably. From the childishly simplistic "you think I'm pretty without my make-up on" (Teenage Dreams) to the downright awful lyrics in The One That Got Away, it's a long way from the pastiche pop Perry yearns to make. And with rivals such as Lady Gaga and Rihanna, she still has some convincing to do to stake her claim as the queen of pop.
(Soft Limit) Eight years after they emerged as the sombre, glacial antidote to Strokes mania, New York's Interpol are these days the band who Bono invites to tour with U2. But despite the band's ascension in the rock ranks, their fourth studio offering (and the last to feature their flamboyant bassist Carlos Dengler, who quit the band in May) shows little innovation or deviation from the brooding, atmospherics that have kept their Josef K and Joy Division credentials in check for almost a decade. As tracks such as Moving On and My Malaise attest, this is something they continue to do very well, but sadly it seems that yet again they have missed another chance to astonish.