Katy Perry — Witness
Katy Perry is one of the most interesting pop stars of the past decade. Emerging from the wreckage of a Christian country gospel career (one album, released under the name Katy Hudson in 2005) she reinvented herself as a funny, outspoken pop diva with her 2008 breakout hit I Kissed A Girl.
Although she calls herself a singer-songwriter, she works closely with a team of writer-producers marshalled by Max Martin, the Swedish super producer who helped forge the careers of Britney Spears, Pink and Taylor Swift. Perry has all the vocal chops you might expect from a church raised singer but her USP has been her over-the-top videos built around a brazenly saucy image, establishing her as a sexy but less provocative rival to Lady Gaga.
Now, at 32, having divorced the British comedian Russell Brand and supported Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, Perry is talking about wanting to make “purposeful pop” with her fourth (official) album.
The problem, of course, is that it’s not phenomenal. Witness isn’t bad, but it’s also not Harry Styles’s self-titled debut, the current holy grail of critically acclaimed pop-star transformations. Still, it’s an acceptable, listenable piece of pop and delivers exactly what it should have had it not been sold as some big, defining moment in Katy’s career. No worse than Britney Spears’s Glory, Selena Gomez’s Revival, or Miley Cyrus’s Can’t Be Tamed, Witness delivers sweeping tracks like “Pendulum,” collaborations with artists like Migos, Nicki Minaj, and Skip Marley, and an emotional ballad produced by indie darlings Hot Chip (“Into Me You See”). So much criticism of the album ignores all that, though, and instead focuses on what it should have been rather than what it is.
Witness actually starts out impeccably well, aided by the production from Swedish dream team Max Martin and his colleague Shellback, otherwise known as former black metal musician Karl Johan Schuster. The title track and ‘Hey Hey Hey’, the first of the Sia co-writes, set up the album as a taut, compact pop record, with some brilliantly brooding atmosphere, but sadly after this, the cracks start to show: the sloppy, go-nowhere ’Roulette’ and the Duke Dumont-produced ’Swish Swish’ kinda sag the record down, and you start to lose the idea of what this album actually is and who it’s aimed at. Indeed, ’Swish Swish’ is largely just a deep house (this year’s genre du jour) track with Katy Perry singing a topline, which isn’t a bad thing, but there’s the nagging feeling that these guest producers are just offering up tunes they’ve had on their hard drives for Perry’s team to compartmentalise and see what demographics they represent. Again, the Jack Garratt produced ‘Power’, is literally just a Jack Garratt song under any other name, and there’s three (yes THREE) Purity Ring (!) productions on here, the best of which, ‘Bigger Than Me’, is their only really memorable moment, and it’s not even that good.
01. Katy Perry — Witness.mp3
02. Katy Perry — Hey Hey Hey.mp3
03. Katy Perry — Roulette.mp3
04. Katy Perry — Swish Swish.mp3
05. Katy Perry — Deja Vu.mp3
06. Katy Perry — Power.mp3
07. Katy Perry — Mind Maze.mp3
08. Katy Perry — Miss You More.mp3
09. Katy Perry — Chained To The Rhythm.mp3
10. Katy Perry — Tsunami.mp3
11. Katy Perry — Bon Appetit.mp3
12. Katy Perry — Bigger Than Me.mp3
13. Katy Perry — Save As Draft.mp3
14. Katy Perry — Pendulum.mp3
15. Katy Perry — Into Me You See.mp3
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