Katy Perry: Witness

Posted June 15, 2017 by in Dance pop



2.5/ 5


Genre: , , ,
Producer: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Genre: Pop, R&B, dance
Producer: Max Martin, Katy Perry, Ali Payami, Shellback, Oscar Holter, Duke Dumont, Noah Passovoy, PJ Sledge, DJ Mustard, Hot Chip, Jack Garratt, Mike Will Made It, Jeff Bhasker, Elof Loelv, Felix Snow, Illangelo, Mark Crew, Tinashe Fazakerley
Label: Capitol
Format: Digital download, compact disc,
Time: 57:28
Release Date: 9 June 2017
Spin This: "Swish Swish," "Chained to the Rhythm," "Deja Vu"


"Swish Swish" puts Perry on sweltering '90's house; "Chained to the Rhythm" gets deep in politics and spins easy disco; darker sounds give Perry fans something new, exciting to dig into


The super-saturated midtempo grooves often burden the flow of the album and are unusually absent of radio-ready melodies., especially compared to PRISM and Teenage Dream

Former pop princess leaps into murkier, colder waters on fifth disc

by J Matthew Cobb
Full Article

Former pop princess leaps into murkier, colder waters on fifth disc

katyperry-03Edgy, controversial, maturing: this is the apparent agenda of Katy Perry in a The Weeknd/Kendrick Lamar/Taylor Swift post-1989 world. Pop music has changed drastically since Perry sprung to action with her sweet synth pop and bubbly pop that dominated the main course of the 2000s. And she’s been widely briefed on the changes: PRISM was the first introduction of a more hip, street-y Katy makeover thanks to throwback house of “Walking on Air,” the Prince-esque “Birthday,” the R&B smoldered “This Is How We Do” and the hip-hop-heavy “Dark Horse.” She’s now shattering even more conventional windows on her fifth album, Witness. And it’s apparent from the eye-in-mouth goth-like album art, a shade brighter than Debbie Harry’s KooKoo and a bit darker than Christina Aguilera’s Bionic, that her intent is to provoke conversation and not simply to play nice. But we don’t judge books by their covers, do we?

Of course this slate of change also means that Perry is abandoning her early phase aesthetic. Out with the bubbly teenage dream, in with the murky and foggy. Witness is mostly midtempo in delivery, except for the album gem: “Swish Swish, which is heavy on Crystal Waters house, mostly on its hooky chorus. It’s the coolest offering inside, with the trance-like soulful house of “Déjà Vu” coming in a close second. Of course, the teaser first single “Chained to the Rhythm” (and its companion concept video) gets points for provoking conversation for embedding hidden messages about societal and political stress: “So comfortable we’re living in a bubble/so comfortable we cannot see the trouble.” It helps to hear the Sia-supported track being amped up with disco-lite rhythms. 

As the album progresses, it becomes obvious that the uptempos are fewer and the ballads are more cinematic, euphoric and dark. The booming Purity Wing-produced galactic ballad “Miss You More” and the more accessible isn’t exactly Top 40 ready. Her lyricism is still a bit on the goofy side, as allegories and parables like “Take a swim with me/make me ripple til I’m wavy” on “Tsunami” and “got me spread like a buffet” and the many other food references (“Sweet potato pie, it’ll change your mind,” which Migos raps on his guest slot) mentioned on “Bon Appétit” feels like skimpy, lightweight parodies for the love life. 

As a whole, Witness is probably more interesting to leap into, simply ’cause it’s something one wouldn’t expect from the former princess of pop. But the wormy melodies mostly fall flat and the musical execution of burdensome trap beats seems a bit lethargic with creative substance. She’s carefully trying to find the next phase of Katy Perry. This time, what’s apparently missing is her penchant for easily edible pop. It’s what made her music so magnetic on the radio and to the masses.


About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine


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