Katy Perry's latest album 'Witness' has come with a high level of controversy... if her shocking new hairdo didn't take people aback, she has been notorious in the headlines for saying some-not-so-great-comment (that Britney comment still stings) and there have been lots of Twitter gifs and memes made about some of her recent performances... but were going to put that all aside and focus on the music, because in hindsight that is the most important factor.
'Witness' is a bold and daring fifth record for Katy Perry... no longer are we in candy land with Snoop Dogg and squirting bras, we've now entered a new world and it's a little bit more daring because it's more artistic... the record is a little bit over the place with it's sound... you have a great track like 'Hey Hey Hey' which could hint back to Katy's pop-rock days but it's got this real dance vibe about it and it's full of attitude as she exclaims "Marilyn Monroe in a monster truck" and whispers "you fucking love it" in the middle eight. There's a hint of a nursery rhyme about it also and then by pure contrast you have a track like 'Mind Maze' which is sonically completely different for Katy and is all about freeing yourself from your own head as she deals with a break-up (or a moving on from a certain situation) and coos over autotuned vocals that give us a real Kanye '808s and Heartbreak' vibe... this is then paralleled with the sex-driven 'Bon Appétit' which should get your pulse moving as it's a firecracker banger... I mean who doesn't love a sex laced food metaphor track? Spread like a buffet indeed!
When the promotion campaign started for 'Witness' Katy declared that the record as "purposeful pop" and then when 'Chained To The Rhythm' dropped... the dots aligned as the song is a direct distaste at those who decided to "dance through political times"... the dancing being a metaphor for ignoring the dark times and living life carefree... now this is the only actual political moment on the record... sure there's 'Pendulum' which feels more like a message to those who are feeling down, but it does have a slight-political undertone to it with it's "it all comes back around" message... TBH the album feels way more like a heartbreak record than it does a political statement... tracks like 'Miss You More' shine through others as they feel more raw and accessible... "saw your picture on accident / your face has changed, the lines are sinking in." The track feels like an indirect comment to John Mayer, who commented on their break-up on a recent album track of his and it's a really heart-wrenching and honest track... the album closer 'Into Me You See' also reeks of the same heartache as it's a really vulnerable and deep moment for Perry as she exclaims "you broke me wide open" over an atmospheric track.
As always with a Katy Perry album, there's silliness and fun and this time... she's brought some sassyiness... there's the Taylor diss 'Swish Swish' where she teams up with Nicki Minaj and the two diss Taylor to high heavens "and I'm a courtside killer queen / and you will kiss the ring" even though we do feel like it's a bit shady of Nicki to come for Taylor considering Taylor was the reason for 'Super Bass' being such an international smasher... but we'll let it slide as the track is an absolute bop and we cannot wait to see how Taylor will react (oh wait... she just put all her music back on streaming sites). 'Déjà Vu' is probably one of our favorite moments on the album.. it's euphoric, it's bouncy and she throws in our fave line "figure out the rubik's cube." It's the nearest to 'Walking On Air' you're going to get here.
SO... what we've established from 'Witness' is that it's not very political BUT it is very heartbreaking and really honest. She's diverged her sound a fair amount and is much more on the dancier scale than she's ever been before... there's a lot of experimentation on the record... which suits the woman whose career started with the sexually-confused 'I Kissed A Girl,' the only issue we have is that when you have such a strong body of work like 'Teenage Dream' where there's hooks for days, an album like 'Witness' is a bit more difficult to sink your teeth into... but it does have it's moments.
KATY PERRY 'WITNESS'