Undoubtedly one of the year’s biggest pop releases thus far, will Katy Perry’s ‘Witness’ leave our reviewer David impressed? Or wanting?
For the latest iteration of Katy Perry, we are treated to Political Katy.
‘Witness’ is here to make a statement, rather than churn out radio-friendly, record smashing singles; she’s making “purposeful pop” instead of “fun pop”.
While I think most probably wish to hear heavy hitting pop tunes, there is some beauty to be found on this album.
If, like me, you’ve been disappointed with the singles released in the lead up to the album release, fear not. In the context of the album, everything makes more sense here.
Another consideration one must have is that this is the first album without Dr Luke, which means automatically the pop hit factor is lessened; he’s not been engaged at all (for obvious reasons).
This isn’t a bad thing, as it means Katy has branched out and has the opportunity to work with new writers and some old favourites too (hello Max Martin, Sia).
I will note that ‘Witness’ is filled with what I’d normally consider good album tracks – ones that are enjoyable enough but that won’t set the charts alight, as evidenced so far.
‘Bon Appetit’, which as a single sounded like a complete clunker, actually stands out in the context of this album and also becomes obvious why it was chosen as a single… There aren’t a whole lot of obvious options here.
A track that should just not have even chosen for inclusion at all is ‘Swish Swish’ with Nicki Minaj. Yes, I give Katy kudos for working with Duke Dumont for something different, but this diss track is just dated.
The only redeeming part of it is Nicki Minaj’s rap. Personally I couldn’t care less about this supposed “beef” with T. Swift and this track only reinforces that. No thank you.
Lead single ‘Chained To The Rhythm” is the best song here. From its message to its modern pop style, it’s a fabulous track. If all of Political Katy was like this, I think she’d have been onto a smash album. Instead this track offers us a glimpse of what could have been.
Other tracks I enjoyed but that radio won’t likely gobble up include ‘Deja Vu’ (with an Aussie connection in the songwriting credits), ‘Roulette’ (which sees pop aficionado Max Martin appear) and ‘Bigger Than Me’ (a track full of lyrics that make you think).
Overall ‘Witness’ is a missed opportunity.
Rather than making an empowering political statement, it’s all very critical, which leads to a very one dimensional perspective. This leads to the whole project feeling quite flat.
Not helped by the fact that fans want to hear another ‘Roar’ or ‘Firework’ (neither kind of moment appears), this album is one of 2017’s big letdowns.
Katy still brings major influence to the world of pop, but what we’ve witnessed here is lacklustre.
VERDICT : 2/5.
MUST LISTEN : Witness, Roulette, Chained To The Rhythm, Bigger Than Me, Into Me You See.