katyperry_LEADwitness

Katy Perry‘s Witness is a feeble and altogether pathetic attempt at reinvention. She’s pining to be the next Madonna, but instead of tapping into that special space that makes each artist unique she adopts the familiar standards that have haunted the mainstream for decades. A few guests try to help the cause, but as quickly as they come they exit out the backdoor treating the effort as a one-and-done affair.

Perry’s choice in beats hinders her progress, a sign that she is in way over her head. The pattern is that of every pop princess looking to muck their image up for the sake of a few more years of relevancy. Britney Spears did it, and so did Pink and now it’s Perry’s turn to go through the ringer. The few chances she has to be forthcoming and poignant, she squanders for the sake of status quo. The fall of yet another pop princess.

Witness

Sticky basslines and sparse vocals pay homage to Chicago house. But instead of delving deeper she gives it the pop treatment, rendering the rhythm useless. She’s falling down a rabbit hole, wondering where she’s going to find her refuge; her vulnerability a transparent ploy, a cheap way to show fans that she’s entering a new phase in her life. A complete con made up of useless spare parts: [LISTEN]

Witness

Hey Hey Hey

Seething dubstep announces an explosion of raw emotion. She’s fed up with being the heel, and taking matters into her own hands. Critics have blasted her, and she’s using that negative energy to her advantage. Unfortunately that motivation doesn’t translate into stimulating work. The pace is wildly frenetic and her wailing is juvenile, a sonic emoji with no range or depth: [LISTEN]

Hey Hey Hey

Roulette

The beat thumps with bro-like fervor. It draws out her inner Madonna, but instead of making it her own she simply follows suit hoping that her audience is too young and naive to recognize the charade. Tonight is her night and she’s ready to party like it were the last day on Earth. She has her red dress on, her homies in tow and a bag full of cash. The only thing missing: talent: [LISTEN]

Roulette

Swish Swish

The anaconda mama lends a hand to Perry’s all out assault. Together they flounder around helplessly like fish on dry land; both desperately looking to get back to familiar waters. The pairing is odd and clearly mailed in, about as organic and homegrown as a McDouble. Perry’s newfound heart can be attributed to the hype machine, a manufactured strength that offers no inspiration: [LISTEN]

Swish Swish

Deja Vu

Explosive pop that spews lyrical diarrhea everywhere. As the song title suggests, it is a hellish cycle of love and hate. She’s trying to extract strength from pain, but lacks the battle scars to validate what’s being said; her dry voice and monotone delivery unconvincing. She’s being toyed with and presenting it in an inconclusive way. Generic Hollywood heartache with no payoff: [LISTEN]

Deja Vu

Power

Frenetic percussion hints at progress, but before it can evolve the beat slips back into familiar territory. The lack of variety lulls her into a hypnotic stupor, a place where she’s caught repeating the same mantras. First it was Madonna and now it’s Pink she’s emulating; her tough girl persona as inconsistent as her other manufactured identities. As juvenile and unsure as a high school freshman: [LISTEN]

Power

Mind Maze

Smearing synth work creates the illusion of deep contemplation. She’s venturing inward, looking for a way to conquer her demons. She is her own worst enemy, and hoping that she can liberate herself from fear. It’s a self-exploratory moment that suggests she’s turning a corner. And while it’s an admirable move it only reflects what was always there, an icy point of view with no creative sizzle: [LISTEN]

Mind Maze

Miss You More

Nostalgia has her tender heart slowly breaking into a million tiny pieces. The gentle harmonies bring her back to a more innocent time, when all that existed was love and romance. The beat thunders in at the halfway point mirroring her inflamed desires. She eventually lets go, hoping that the her long lost love won’t spill the beans on her deepest darkest secrets. A purging of regret: [LISTEN]

Miss You More

Chained to the Rhythm

A return to form that has her revisiting an old and familiar style. Bubblegum pop is her forte and it makes her feel like she’s exactly where she needs to be; stuck in Neverland refusing to grow up. She’s a freewheeling starlet again, going with the flow and hoping that the world will wake from its slumber. It’s a gaudy, shortsighted declaration that gets stale as soon as you take it out the box: [LISTEN]

Chained to the Rhythm

Tsunami

Synth pop from the ’80s inspires a series of boring double entendres. She’s laid out waiting for her lover to arrive. The anticipation is driving her mad and she’s writhing around like an angry snake in heat. In the meantime a tsunami of lust has built up, and she’s ready to erupt at any moment. She wants to dive deep into love’s abyss, but she’s ill equipped and too immature to make the plunge: [LISTEN]

Tsunami

Bon Appetit

Perry invites Migos to the party and pretends to like rap. The pairing is as bad as any other on the album, and is an obvious ploy to have her crossover to a wider, more trendy audience. She wants to be eaten, or more accurately consumed by the masses. It’s overly sweet, the texture is inconsistent and the meat of the song (the hook) is overcooked and rubbery. Guy Fieri in music form: [LISTEN]

Bon Appetit

Bigger than Me

Sticking to the liberation motif, Perry tries to convince the world that she’s onto something great. Her vanity is leaving her with the belief that she is on a mission from god, but what that mission entails exactly is anybody’s guess; from the sound of it she’s aiming to vilify the airwaves with noxious fumes. Ego maniacal ranting is her bread and butter, and the spotlight has never been brighter: [LISTEN]

Bigger than Me

Save as Draft

A basic beat has Perry strolling down memory lane. She’s on Sunset walking around with her shadow, remorse following close behind. Dropping the F-Bomb is a subtle way of letting her fans know she’s serious, but like other efforts it’s a transparent move. Fragility coupled with manic infatuation has her spiraling out of control. A phony, artless cry without an ounce of realness to speak of: [LISTEN]

Save as Draft

Pendulum

Crunchy beats come raining down from the sky, but do little to mask the weak lyrics. She’s reeling off one weather beaten platitude after another, filling her plate with a mountain of cliches. The bloated sense of entitlement is clouding her judgement, leaving her to believe that she’s exploring uncharted territory. There is no growth, only a reinterpretation of familiar styles: [LISTEN]

Pendulum

Into Me You See

A vainglorious close to an album full of basic ideas and even more basic beats. She’s beating a singular idea to death, thinking that a few simple songs about heartache will change her image. Her progress has stalled and the same soggy ideas remain. The delicate melodies are trite and the gentle sobbing an insult to songwriters worldwide. A welcome end that should have come sooner: [LISTEN]

Into Me You See