Fresh off the back of a mid-life crisis and a completely embarrassing political awakening, Katy Perry is back. With Wokeness gathering dust at the bottom of the Billboard 200,000,000 chart, our girl has returned to churning out #MOMPOP in a bid to reclaim her pop crown and self-esteem. Katy ceases to exist without hit songs on the radio, so it’s important that she gets this era right or risk spontaneously combusting into a cloud of cotton candy.

“Never Really Over” received a rapturous response from the dumb Twitter gays and whoever the fuck is sad enough to still watch American Idol, but the commercial reception has been mediocre. By this time next year, nobody will even remember that it was ever released. Like “Rise” and “Unconditionally,” it’s a forgettable nothing of a song that only achieved minor chart success off the star power of Perry.

This got me thinking about Teenage Dream and if that entire era was just a fluke. Sure, Katy’s had the odd great bop and guilty pleasure since then, but nothing has come close to the magical bubblegum of Teen Dream. Should we credit Dr. Luke’s beats and Bonnie McKee’s pen for, say, 80% of that era? I don’t know. I mean, Luke, Bonnie and Max Martin also worked on Prism and that was mostly shit (minus “Birthday”, obvs), so who can really say.

Katy’s next album will tell us how good she really is. I consider One Of The Boys and Teen Dream to be her good eras, and Prism and Wokeness to be cringe trash, so this next one is the decider. While “Never Really Over” sucked, I like the follow up, “Small Talk”. Charlie Puth produced it, and he’s really good when he isn’t torturing us with atrocious radio ballads.

Like Taylor Swift at her very best, “Small Talk” has some heart, with relatable lyrics that tell a story, addictive synth-pop production and a quirky chorus. It’s actually better than Taylor’s new stuff, which I actually find unlistenable. Seriously, I can’t get through one song from Lover so far.

My crystal ball tells me that #KP6 will just be a handful of radio singles cooked up in a boardroom and padded out with poorly-written ~personal~ songs about Katy finding God again or how she’s non-binary now or something, but I’m happy for her to prove me wrong.