The Impact of Katy Perry


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Katy Perry was one of the most popular artists of the early 2010’s, as well as one of the most influential.

Sydney Wold , Editor in Chief

When one defines a decade with as many technological advancements, one of the most important political elections in the United States history, and milestones in the arts as the 2010s, the music of that decade is one of the most useful tools in completing this endeavor. Though it’s hard to pin down just one artist who could represent a decade as expansive as the 2010s, Katy Perry is one of the best candidates for this role. Her impact on the earlier half of the decade is undeniable, yet it remains unrecognized by critics and listeners alike. 

The 2008 economic recession was at its peak when Katy Perry released her first pop album, One of the Boys. Her music contrasted the economic distress many Americans experienced at the turn of the decade with a sound that was unabashedly fun. The lyrics were often bold and raunchy, with mentions of partying and various escapades of a suggestive nature. The production was light and playful and even if it wasn’t groundbreaking, it provided an escape for a country that was reeling from economic troubles. 

If One of the Boys introduced America to Katy Perry, Teenage Dream cemented Katy Perry into the American cultural sphere. Teenage Dream was a more well-rounded extension of One of the Boy’s risque sound and it was released just mere moments after the economy had ended. Americans were ready to party and Katy Perry had just created the perfect soundtrack. 

2013’s Prism was still invited to the party, however Katy Perry’s sound had matured, so her sound was more fine tuned than her previous albums. The lyrics shied away from the party girl themes of her first two works and instead spread messages of confidence and empowerment. This was a common theme of music from 2013-2014, as other hits of the time like Sarah Bareilles’s Fight Song and Meghan Trainor’s All About That Bass strove to instill confidence within listeners. This movement of self-love spurred a trend of destigmatizing mental health and popularized body positivity. 

Katy Perry has since retired from the limelight to focus on motherhood. However, her impact on the early 2010s is one that can be measured in the many references to and the influence of her sound on today’s artists, most notably Lorde and Maren Morris. Katy Perry is truly the definition of a decade that pulled itself out of a recession and empowered those who were previously powerless.