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Katy Perry
MTV Unplugged
Capitol Records
www.katyperry.com


Singer-songwriter Katy Perry has enjoyed several top 20 hit singles from her debut album on Capitol Records, One Of The Boys. Her success led to a performance for MTV's Unplugged on July 22, 2009, which has been compiled into the recently released CD/DVD set. Her show included a handful of her pop standards like "I Kissed A Girl," "Ur So Gay," and "Waking Up In Vegas" along with a cover of Fountains Of Wayne's tune "Hackensack" and a brand new song by Perry called "Brick By Brick." Rather than being a retrospective, Perry's MTV Unplugged session shows these songs in a new light, and displays them as permanent pieces in pop culture's collection.

The CD portion of the set is performed acoustically as opposed to their amplified versions on her album One Of The Boys. The treatments applied to the songs bring out their "nuances," described by Perry in the interview on the DVD. "I Kissed A Girl" emphasizes the heavy bass lines, "Ur So Gay" is tasseled in strands billowy jazzy horns, and "Thinking Of You" is decorated in swirls of orchestral strings. The flakes of country twang in the acoustics for "Lost" draw out an Americana texture, and the sparsely chained chords of "Brick By Brick" give the melody a torchlight ambience.

The DVD in the set includes Perry's live performance in addition to a private interview with her on the MTV stage. Perry talks about how she started out as a singer and songwriter, what inspired her to write the songs on her album, and what the journey has been like for her since One Of The Boys was released. She compares her song "I Kissed A Girl" to Madonna's track "Like A Virgin" as both seem to resonate with audiences in the same manner. Perry's song "Hot 'N' Cold" from One Of The Boys is probably better known, but an acoustic version of the tune is not included in the set.

Perry's success with One Of The Boys has garnered her several awards including a Brit Award, a MTV Europe Music Award, a Grammy Award, a MTV Music Video Award, and a Teen Choice Award. Perry's CD/DVD set for her MTV Unplugged session caps the success she has experienced with One Of The Boys in a lasting visual. Whether more is in store for Perry is purely speculation, but wherever she goes from here, she has managed to make "I Kissed A Girl" reach Carole King's classic pop status, so now even our grand-children will recognize the tune from way back when.

-Susan Frances

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