Monday 26 June 2017

Review of 'Witness' by Katy Perry

No more songs about bicurious cherry-chapstick-fuelled adventures or partying with ‘California gurls’. It’s time for Katy Perry’s I-want-to-be-a-serious-artist album.

How do you make a pop album sound sophisticated? Katy Perry thinks she has it figured. Add some songs with French titles to come across as cultured (‘Déjà vu’, ‘Bon Appetit’). Show people your political side with an angsty wake-up-sheeple track (‘Chained To The Rhythm’). Sing about Faberge eggs and roulette and other classy Bond girl stuff. End the album on a soppy romantic piano ballad (‘Into Me You See’). Voila!

All in all, Katy has swapped out cheeky for chic. But instead of sounding fresh, it just sounds like a bunch of less catchy and less interesting Lady Gaga songs. Choruses are clunkily assembled and the majority of the beats sound like watered down versions of electro-pop songs already out there. Meanwhile, the singer’s choice to describe pop fans as ‘wasted zombies’ feels like career suicide, whilst her failed attempt to make ‘into me you see’ sound like ‘intimacy’ strikes you as witty for all of about five seconds until you realise how sickeningly corny it is.

There are two diamonds in the rough – ‘Power’, which feels genuinely powerful with it’s explosive drum fill and soaring chorus, and ‘Bon Appetit’, which reclaims Katy’s sense of raunchiness with some husky food/sex innuendo.

‘Swish Swish’ feels like it was trying to be the other fun track here (and there are speculations that it could be a Taylor Swift diss track), but it’s got the most dime-a-dozen deep house beat conceivable. The sound may be more sophisticated, but the songwriting is some of her most stale yet.