Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream Is The Most Important Pop Album Of The Last 10 Years

Her iconic LP turns 5 years old today.

In a summer bereft of that one addictive pop hit, it’s hard not to hearken back to 2010, when Katy Perry’s delicious “California Gurls” dominated airwaves. It’s perhaps the summery-est summer hit ever, stuffed with the syrupy bombast that separates No.1 singles from dusty filler tracks. Simply put, it’s a damn good pop song.

But little did we know what else Katy had in store for us in summer 2010. “California Gurls” was just the gateway drug to her near-perfect third studio album Teenage Dream, which came out August 24 of that year. It’s a pink, preppy and polished little LP; Ms. Perry co-wrote every song on the album and enlisted a team of top-notch hitmakers—including the omnipresent Max Martin and Dr. Luke—to cook up its kitschy sound. And what we received on that day—five years ago on the dot—is the most important pop record of the decade. It’s quite literally a dream. Puns completely intended.

Teenage Dream saved pop music in 2010. It surged a brand of silliness into the dance genre that had been dominated by Lady Gaga’s Fame Monster edge. (No offense to Gaga; The Fame Monster is brilliant, but sometimes we just want to groove without nightmares or symbolism.) TD brought the sun out. For the first time that year, we could finally roll down our windows and enjoy a warm, no-pretense breeze. A rare, simple pleasure.

Because that’s what TD is—a simple but effective pop LP. Its relentless dedication to the hook—on each track—keeps everything moving at a supersonic pace. Even TD’s less ecstatic moments like “Pearl” and “The One That Got Away” contain a certain effervescent sweetness completely on par with its other tracks. It’s a sugar rush without the guilt or hangover, which we didn’t know was possible. (Kesha’s Animal was the only comparable record at the time, but it’s a tad more rough-and-tumble. Ice cream with spikes.)

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