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Source Material

Source Material: Katy Perry, 'Teenage Dream'

by Rachel Devitt

Source Material: Katy Perry, 'Teenage Dream'

It's hard to imagine pop culture or, well, life in general without Katy Perry, but our little Teenage Dream Girl only dropped into our lives back in 2007 or so. Now, just a few short years later, she's gone from kissing girls to getting hitched, wowed us with wigs in every color of the rainbow, ridden everything from a banana to a cloud to Russell Brand (sorry), and released not one but two smash albums. In fact, the second one, last year's Teenage Dream, just helped Ms. Perry set a new record: she's the first-ever female singer (and only the second-ever artist, after Michael Jackson) to have five No. 1 singles from one album.

Teenage Dream takes its subject matter seriously: like teenagerdom in general, it is angsty, dramatic, hormone-ridden, at times annoying, near-universal and, oh yeah, a lot of fun. Perry's retrospective on adolescence and its attending aesthetics of emotional theatrics, colorful vibrancy, neo-jailbait vixenry and head-cheerleader camp are mined from a wide array of sources. In other words, peppermint candy-bras (and Russell Brand) notwithstanding, the girl's got surprisingly good taste. So dig in and listen up! to our exploration of the roots and routes that led to the record-breaking Teenage Dream. Katy lovers and haters alike will find plenty of favorites and surprises here!

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