Teenage Dream 
I haven't been the worlds biggest Katy fan over the last couple of years. There's been a real "star quality" missing from her that made me not take as much notice as i probably should have during her first album. Then again, her first album was never really something that grabbed me all that much anyway back when it was released. As a debut, it did the job, it had strong enough singles, but as a complete album, it fell a little short. 'I Kissed A Girl' and 'Hot and Cold' are NOT indications of how the rest of her debut album sounded. In fact, it moves pretty strongly away from her pop singles into more of a Avril Lavigne-esque rock album. That's not a bad thing per se, the album certainly has some decent songs on it, but it's all a bit boring, and didn't bring anything new to the table.
With competition from other popstars like Rihanna, Britney, Ke$ha, and of course Lady Gaga, i always felt Katy really needed to step up her game once she released a second album. There isn't any room for being under the radar when these girls are competing year after year with new music and controversy and whatever else is selling their careers on a daily basis to their rabid fans. Katy needed to get the big guns out if she wanted to stick around. Thankfully on her new album, 'Teenage Dream', she does!.
I'll admit, i haven't liked the lead single, 'California Girls' at all over the last few months, so my interest in giving the new album a try was very small. Once her second single, 'Teenage Dream', was released though, i started to really like what i was hearing, so i gave the album a chance, and i'm glad that i did.
Katy's really stepped up her game on this album, Max Martin and Dr Luke have created potential hit singles with pretty much every song on the record, and the upbeat 'California Girls' isn't the only type of direction the rest of the album goes in. There are other summer themed songs like, 'The One That Got Away' and the very cute, 'Last Friday Night' [which i didn't like at first]. These songs remind me a lot of her first album, but sound a lot more polished and catered to pop radio.
The album highlights for me though are the less Summery songs. Tracks like 'Circle The Drain' and 'E.T.' REALLY have her going for the pop queen crown and pushing over all her popstar competition. The production on those two tracks is perfect, and they're both my favourites off the album. Other highlights are, 'Fireworks', 'Who Am I Living For' and 'Pearl'.
The great thing about this album is that it isn't all just superficial pop, Katy actually writes a lot of personal songs on the album. This record is half a love album [thanks to Russel Brand] and half a bitter break up album [thanks to her ex, Travis??]. It's an interesting mix, you can tell the album was created in two very different periods of her life.
There were a couple songs that didn't do much for me when i first heard this album, but on repeat listens, i can happily say there isn't ONE song that i don't like from the record. Even 'California Girls' works better as part of an entire track listing, rather than on it's own.
Katy Perry has FINALLY made a bleep on my radar, hopefully she keeps up with making strong pop albums in the future and drops the 2002 sounding Avril songs from her first album. The pop sound does more for her.