Katy Perry 'Witness' album review: She's hot and cold, but she's no firework
If you believe that someone's music is an extension of themselves, then Katy Perry's latest album Witness is pretty emblematic of the place she's in at the moment.
Perry has emerged out of a media storm around her (are we still saying alleged?) relationship with Orlando Bloom and John Mayer, and has jumped straight into the promotions of her new album. She's everywhere — Ellen, Carpool Karaoke to name a few.
And while she has some rehearsed lines in tow, even those who aren't fans of Perry will admit, there's something refreshing about her current avatar. I think it's because she has zero f*cks to give and is only concentrating on her music (she reminds me of Miley before Malibu happened).
Perry has a charming voice; it's powerful yet feminine, a lot more competent than a host of popstars, and it's a mood pleaser.
Witness is Katy Perry's most over-produced, electronic album to date. While that may be a good thing for some, for those of us who have heard her impressive vocals in chartbusters like Firework and Roar, this album will end up being disappointing in parts.
Let's start with my favourite song from the album, Chained To The Rhythm. Even though the video channels a futuristic vibe, the sound is vintage and makes you feel like you're back in the late 80s. This is a radio song; one that you will amp the music of when it plays. The lyric and the melodies really get into your skin.
Are we crazy/ Living our lives through a lens/ Trapped in our white picket fence/ Like ornaments
So comfortable, we’re living in a bubble, bubble/ So comfortable, we cannot see the trouble, trouble
It's a great workout song because it has a consistent flow. You really do get chained to its rhythm (sorry).
Bon Apetit is the dance song of the album; a Katy Perry flagship, and an indicator of her mood. It's a catchy number, already a chart-buster, and even though it's supposed to be a seductive dance song, it means a lot more. You'll find yourself bobbing your head, guaranteed.
Witness and Hey Hey Hey are both beat-heavy, popsy songs, with the latter feeling like almost a continuation. Both tracks have the same staccato beats and pitch. Infact, it could have been merged into one song, and I wouldn't have been able to tell the difference.
Her tone switches gear in three songs, to a more sombre, lyric-heavy mood. Save As Draft, Into Me You See and Miss You More are not produced as much, and bring out Perry's vulnerability as a singer. However, there's nothing in these tracks that stand out, and you won't be able to recreate it seconds after it's over.
Meanwhile, Deja Vu, Power and Mind Maze, are more ambient, heady tracks. They have a distinct Disclosure vibe (an English electronic duo), but the beats don't overpower her voice. The mixing works for the music, and you will find yourself getting lost in the melodies. Mind Maze has an alarmingly auto-tuned chorus, though. Sticks out like a sore thumb.
Pendulum is the most like a Katy Perry song in the album. It's reminiscent of her earlier stuff, which is vocal-heavy, sassy and has an upbeat vibe. It's her version of Justin Timberlake's 'What Goes Around Comes Around', but it lacks the personality that JayT brings to his songs.
Roulette, Bigger Than Me are the popsy trademarks in album, while Tsunami feels like it's been retracted from a chillwave playlist. It's a calming song, and has the potential to be someone's jam (not mine, though).
Swish Swish is a lot more upbeat than other tracks in the album. It sounds like the kind of track that would be played at a club in Las Vegas. The vocals are all over the place and it loses steam midway through. Minaj's rap tides it through.
The tone of Witness is very evidently one-dimensional. There are some hits, and some misses. She's lost, heartbroken, struggling with her emotions and the album is a portrayal of this. Or at least that is what it feels like. Perry gives us a clear message with the album: I'm here to stay, and do what I want, whether you like it or not.
(all songs can be heard on Youtube, Katy Perry's channel)