As one of the world’s biggest pop superstars and almost a decade into her career, Katy Perry’s ‘Witness’ should and could have been a Pop triumph and a fine addition into her impressive pop discography. Except, it isn’t.
Perry shot to fame after debut release ‘I Kissed A Girl‘ and subsequently released the ever-brilliant ‘One of The Boys’, a quirky pop-rock album which took a singer-songwriter approach. The follow up, ‘Teenage Dream’ witnessed her transition into bubblegum pop to become a global superstar and it’s this album that remains her best. ‘Prism’, the follow up, aimed for the same but demonstrated more maturity. It was a well-intentioned follow up and had its moments but failed to be endearing as ‘Teenage Dream’.
On ‘Witness’, as opposed to taking an innovative approach, Perry merely demonstrates that she has lost her identity. Gone is the bubblegum pop and in is a perplexing cacophony of dark and electropop. The opening title track is sturdy enough with its twinkly piano riffs and effervescent synthesizers but fails to make an impression similar to that of ‘Roar‘, ‘Teenage Dream‘, or ‘One of The Boys‘. From here, the album barely improves. It’s an album dependent on repeated Pop hooks over dissonant electropop but fails to make much of an impression and is instantly forgettable.
The album depends heavily on contemporary production: huge drops, autotune-drenched vocals and distant synthesizers yet it doesn’t pay off. It’s a chaotic mesh of commotion which lacks personality and any memorable tracks. It’s simply a rehash of the singles chart from the last six months. It’s no wonder that Perry has had to rely on wielding Taylor Swift slurs and that droll therapy session broadcasted all over the world.
Bizarrely, the album’s best moments are the mediocre singles. ‘Bon Appetit‘ is the closest to any of the effervescent, naughty pop featured on ‘Teenage Dream’ whilst ‘Chained To The Rhythm‘ remains the album’s highlight. The same cannot be said for the diabolical ‘Swish Swish‘, however which has all the cringe of a mum attempting to be ‘down-with-the-kidz’. Musically, it could have been a fine EDM track but is let down by its unwarranted Taylor Swift-berating lyrics.
The only other times that the album attempts to redeem itself is at the very end, first on the penultimate track ‘Pendulum‘, then on finale ‘Into Me You See‘. On the triumphant, gospel-tinged ‘Pendulum‘, Perry’s vocals glisten over irresistible piano riffs and a symphony of gospel vocals whilst ‘Into You See Me‘ is a delicate piano ballad in a similar vein to Teenage Dream’s ‘Not Like The Movies‘. Unfortunately, it’s too little, too late.
It’s unlikely that the Katy Perry known and loved by many has vanished forever but certainly indefinitely. Perhaps she should take note from Miley and return in two years with a fresh attitude and a belter of a single.
Highlights: Chained To The Rhythm, Pendulum, Into Me You See