Album Review: Witness | Katy Perry
Updated: Apr 15, 2021
Even though Katy Perry has developed an almost teen-pop image for herself through her discography, she made a real surprise in 2017 with the album 'Witness'. It seems like this LP is made to please only a refined portion of her fans as well as a new audience of experimental lovers.
The album opens with the homonymous track, asking 'Will you be my witness', epically reverberating during the bridge, giving us a taste of what is coming. 'Hey Hey Hey' is a lyrically playful, empowering track that could sound goofy to people who despise fun music but even there, the percussion and voice effects make the song blend in an atmosphere that is not at all silly or easy to follow. Same goes for the vintage driven 'Roulette' and the elaborate 'Swish Swish'
which is a 'love it or leave it' track with multiple, interchanging moods.
The 'Deja Vu' that follows is maybe a cool break from the 'hit single' storm that hit us from the album's opening, again, with an 80's vibe that seems to be a hidden pattern carefully put in details. 'Power', just like 'Hey Hey Hey', is a bossy pop song about self-confidence almost to the point of vanity. 'Mind Maze' sounds a bit easy to forget without much going on, followed by 'Miss You More', a classic Katy Perry ballad for the fans. 'Chained to the Rhythm' is a big statement from the songstress about how the mechanisms of society have buried our truth, freedom and individuality. Actually, after multiple listening sessions of the album it is pretty obvious that 'Witness' talks about liberating ourselves and finding our voice. 'Tsunami' felt like a filler track, maybe intentionally put there to give space for 'Bon Appetit', a special kind of 'hit' which I call a perfect example of experimental pop exploding into commercialism. An addictive beat but a guilty pleasure as the lyrics balance somewhere between 'comic', 'fun' and 'cheesy': 'All that you can have, boy. Got me spread like a buffet, bon appetit baby'.
From that point Katy gives an alternating mix of ballads and standard pop songs until she completely transforms herself into a modern witch of electronica in the seducing 'Dance with the Devil'. An utterly dark track with minimal instrumentation, eerie vibe and distorted male vocals that make you question Katy Perry's choices in music until now.
To everyone who does not enjoy Katy Perry but loves exploring, 'Witness' is a true diamond. Its commercial 'fail' -compared to her previous albums- is evidence that something weird goes on in there and it's beautiful. With the risk of sounding ridiculous after all the praise given, I admit that I usually skip almost half of the album's tracks (the typical KatyPerry-ish ones) but glorify the other half as an unsettling pop gem that will sound contemporary even years after its release. Just like Aguilera's Bionic but that is a completely different story!