For some pop artists, there's nothing scarier than a live performance or an unplugged album. After all, a large proportion of pop music is bolstered by technical wizardry and wacky digital effects. Since 1989, MTV Unplugged has taken popular musicians and thrust them into the acoustic limelight, often shocking audiences and listeners alike with how good (or God-awful) certain musicians are without the studio safety net.
Katy Perry is the latest artist to take the MTV Unplugged plunge. The sassy songstress has been lauded for her music's danceability and catchiness, but many have pointed out that it seems high on production sizzle and a bit light on substance. The album version of her Unplugged appearance provides an eye-opening glimpse of Perry's true musical talent. Leading off with a jazz-style version of "I Kissed a Girl," Perry treks through seven songs, each infused with a tremendous amount of energy and soul -- a vast departure from her studio work. The standout song is Perry's emotional cover of Fountain of Wayne's "Hackensack," which allows her to fully showcase her voice.
The entire album comes across like the musical love-child of Michelle Branch and Sheryl Crow, had that child been raised to become a lounge singer. The only weakness is that Unplugged is too damn short -- only seven songs -- and doesn't include "Hot 'N' Cold," arguably Perry's best song. Still, Unplugged shows Perry skeptics that she's more than just another pretty face or a poor man's Lady Gaga. It's refreshing to see that someone so popular is actually talented.