One of pop's undisputed queens has returned to the throne. Katy Perry left us waiting for quite some time, her last effort Prism released in 2013. She's back with some fresh sounds, as Katy Perry finds new influences on Witness.
It's been impossible to escape the singles, and they do give a good idea of the new song Katy has. 'Chained To The Rhythm' was released as the lead single, its reggae infused beat paired with the feature from Skip Marley really gives the song a tropical feeling that Katy has never played with before. There's a strong trap influence that makes its way into several songs, including 'Swish Swish' featuring Nicki Minaj. The distorted vocals are a bit dumb, but there's an undeniable groove in the dark trap synth melody in the choruses and verses. Nicki Minaj actually holds her ground here, too, which is a nice surprise. Trap elements find their way in 'Mind Maze' as well, the epic dark atmosphere sounding dramatic and huge.
The vibe of the album is overall something darker than your typical Katy Perry album. It opens with the sweet intro of 'Witness' before the chill but dark instrumental kicks in, the occasional epic high coming into fruition. The chorus spirals out in a sweet way, though it does wish it could have a bit more power to it. 'Déjà Vu' has a dark and mysterious sound to it that sounds really nice, even though "Rubik's cube" doesn't translate to well as a vocal. Though plagued by oddly distorted percussion far too much, 'Power' has an empowering vibe to it, similar (though paling in comparison) to the song she released for last year's Olympic Games, 'Rise.'
The album is definitely defined, in part, by its lyrics. In that way, there are plenty of tracks that are hit or miss. There are some really powerful moments - the retrospective "I miss you more than I loved you" is a really beautiful line. Then there's the entirety of 'Bon Appétit,' which is just an overall cringey experience. At least Quavo brought along the rest of Migos along for once. With that track out of the way, the album ends sweetly on the piano ballad 'Into Me You See,' bringing it all out on a warm note.
Katy Perry finds new influences on Witness, revitalizing her sound and bringing in a new era on a fresh note. It's not a perfect album, but it's definitely a good representation of the current mood of pop and even offers room for experimentation. It's a success as far as musicality goes, but, like most pop albums, there are the moments that don't hit a high. But when it does hit a climax, it does it confidently.
Favorite Tracks: Swish Swish, Mind Maze, Miss You More
Least Favorite Track: Bon Appétit
Rating: 75 / 100
Stream or buy Witness on Apple Music or Amazon: