Pop superstar Katy Perry struggles to find her footing on her fifth studio album, ‘Witness.’ Sometimes it works, while other times it doesn’t.
Katy Perry returns with her fifth studio album, Witness, following a four-year hiatus. Witness earned the pop superstar another no. 1 album. However, the quality of the effort is mixed at best.
On “Witness” Katy Perry sings about the desire for love. While relatable, the record doesn’t come off as particularly memorable. Following an opener like “Roar” certainly isn’t easy. “Witness” is okay, but not transcendent. “Hey Hey Hey” feels abrupt in its delivery. This ultimately detracts from its effectiveness. After multiple listens, it feels as if it hasn’t been properly assembled. “Roulette” is a step up, featuring slick, danceable production work with an infectious groove. The chorus in particular is catchier than that of the two songs that precedes it. Perhaps Perry doesn’t quite get a ‘W’ here, but it’s one of the better moments from Witness.
“Swish Swish” is a win, period. While it’s flawed with anachronistic production and so-so vocals, Perry, she offers an irresistible hook and ultimately, she straight-up flexes. Nicki Minaj adds more punch with her rap verse. Katy Perry resurrects a cliché with her own “Déjà vu.” It’s pleasant track, but not a game changer. The throwback dance/house sound supports the déjà vu sentiment, but it lacks the originality of previous projects. On “Power,” Perry delivers a vocal that show off more of her abilities. She’s no powerhouse, but has more chops than say “Swish Swish” showcases. The theme of empowerment adds more weight.
“Chained to the Rhythm”
“Mind Maze” lacks memorability and appeal. While Perry has energy, there’s an excess – loads of vocal effects, over-glossed production, and blasé lyrics. On ballad “Miss You More,” she asserts: “I miss you more than I loved you / I do.” It’s not deep, but telling in regards to her former flame (whoever he may be).
“Chained to the Rhythm” ranks among the elite moments from Witness – it’s the crème de la crème. The groove is infectious, while the production successfully blends urban- and tropical-pop. Lyrically, this song is catchy and thought-provoking; the verses are socially and politically relevant. Skip Marley only plays a small role, never overshadowing Perry. The chorus propels “Chained to the Rhythm” to the next level. As for follow-up “Tsunami,” it’s a letdown. The results are meh, which is being generous.
In the context of Witness, “Bon Appétit” is a standout. BUT, it’s also a wasted opportunity with the hottest rap trio of the year (Migos) and deservingly earned a spot on The 11 Worst Songs of 2017 (So Far). Bigger Than Me” has big ambitions, but such ambitious fail to come to fruition. “Save as Draft” is cleverly titled but fails to live to the hype. “Pendulum” is promising, but its good intentions only go so far. It’s bombastic and energetic, but also all over the place. Witness concludes with a ballad, “Into Me You See.” The biggest offense? It’s boring as…
All said and done, Witness is the most flawed album Katy Perry has offered. The biggest issue is the lack of hits. The pre-release singles stand out contextually, which is surprising while non-singles that rank a ‘notch above the rest’ don’t feel like hits. This leaves Perry in a precarious position. Ultimately, this album “is what it is.”
If you’d like to partake of the full-fledged analytical experience of the album, check out Katy Perry, Witness | Album Review on The Musical Hype.
Gems: “Swish Swish,” “Roulette,” “Power,” “Chained to the Rhythm” & “Bon Appétit”
Katy Perry • Witness • Capitol • Release: 6.9.17
Photo Credit: Capitol