Greg Kurstin and Inara George (otherwise known as Bird and a Bee) must be weeping into their mirror-mirror-on-the-wall!
Here is Katy, challenging them for their pop-electronica crown, but with some of the most beautifully-recorded string arrangements I've ever heard- not so much lush and blossoming but twiggy and just resonant enough to remind you that there are real people there playing real wood with real horsehair; meanwhile, her voice sparkles with joie-de-vivre, confident, pure, flexible, controlling the complex arrangements that have more hooks than Can't Get You Out Of My Head but still manage to sound left-field.
This is an absolutely beautiful album. I have heard lots of these songs in their simple live form and they absolutely flower in the studio.
Katy has been fond of 'mad' women performers like Tori Amos and Kate Bush for a long time.
But with this album, she shows us that it is the rest of us that are mad and it is Katy that is sane. There is a special place for women performers with a vision, and Katy has reserved herself a worthy position there. this is about the fifth time I have listened to this collection of songs, and I'm still hearing new and inspiring details in it every time.
I used to be Katy's teacher years ago: the pupil has far outstripped the teacher, which is exactly as it should be.
Katy, I am proud of you!