Review Summary: We all want to be seen.
At the time of writing, Witness
is already failing; spurred by the pro-Clinton humdrum of "Chained to the Rhythm" and the Quavo and cunnilingus buffet of "Bon Appétit" (and to a lesser extent, the late night, muted disco of "Swish Swish"), Katy Perry's adventures in being woke are DOA. The album's failing to chart, the singles aren't making an impact, and there's an increasingly trite critical narrative emerging that puts it in competition with the equally dry and uninspired Teenage Dream
. Needless to say, nobody likes Witness
, and for good reason; between the Migos and Hot Chip features that slide into vacuous spaces of abysmal lyricism, it's obvious that the greatest part of any Pop Song- the immediacy- has been utterly drained in favour of some antiquated, crushingly dull 'coolness.' So, though "I Kissed a Girl" (or any number of infectiously dumb songs up until the consciously staid nothing that was Prism
) could at least work its way into radios, movies, conversations, and large public areas, it's hard to pin down any stadium that would think it appropriate to blast "Save as Draft" or "Tsunami," or better yet, any adult that would think much of Katy Perry just because she's collaborated with Purity Ring. In fairness, Witness
isn't a failure, and its good intentions, both politically and sexually, aren't insufferable as much as they are listless and unsatisfying. She's confident moving to the beat of synthpop, hip hop, and disco, even if the songs aren't worth much of anyone's time, and, needless to say, it comes off as far more capable than any other lazily calibrated Perry clone in-waiting for stardom. So although Witness
will probably go down as a curiosity for everyone, it's at least got enough maturity to sustain a tour cycle if not a more wholesomely curated comeback. In the meantime, let's all appreciate a time when production from DJ Mustard, a songwriting credit from Sia, and rap verse from Nicki Minaj were thought of as fashionable, chic, and daring musical choices.