Vinyl Vlog 265

Vinyl Vlog 265

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Tuesday, 10 October 2017
COLUMN

Katy Perry
Witness

 

It’s truly interesting to watch what has been happening to Katy Perry this year. Sure, she never appealed to everyone, but the woman has solidified herself as a pop music heavy hitter ever since she broke on the scene in 2008. And no, her Kate Hudson Christian rock phase does not count.

 

For some reason, it seemed like Katy Perry was taking a different approach to pop music. While most artists seem to unabashedly embrace the self-important bravado aspects of the scene, Perry on the other hand seemed painfully self-aware of her ridiculous position and focused on full-on sugary candy pop music. Her stuff was supposed to by flirty, sexy, and fun. And she was damn good at it.

 

But then Witness happened and people did not like it. Not helping matters is the fact that the singles leading up to its release failed to leave any real marks. Critics were quick to label her a has-been and that ball kept on snowballing. Perry had lost it, fallen from grace, and might never make a comeback.

 

This of course is completely unfair. It just goes to show how little the public understands about pop music, because none of Witness is probably Katy Perry’s fault.

 

Consider this. Pop albums these days are mega-assembly products, with sometimes a dozen writers and producers working on a single song. The stakes are high for the record label, and there’s no way they’re going to let the title artist drive this car. No, pop records are solely manufactured to make money, not to have any integrity. Calling Witness Katy Perry’s record is to seriously misunderstand what a pop record is. Chances are all these songs were already written before Perry even saw them.

 

So with that in mind, let’s hit the brakes. What can we say about Witness?

For one thing, it’s probably Katy Perry’s album with the most replay value. Instead of relying on the catchiest of catchy hook and sugary sweet pop songs, Witness’ content runs a little deeper, and takes repeated listens to truly absorb. And once we give the album the chance it deserves, some of its gems truly start to shine, we’re on board for the beats of Chained to the Rhythm, and can appreciate the beauty of Into Me You See. But you have to listen for it. Unfortunately, we live in times of instant gratification and for people who don’t put in the time, this album will go right over their heads.

 

Not that Witness is without faults. There’s a desperate attempt here for content that’s smarter and more socially aware. Sometimes it succeeds, other times we’re just scratching our heads at the choice of words. Also, it has to be admitted that Witness doesn’t seem to have any addictive highpoints, and maybe just runs at a steady level throughout. That’s hardly a catastrophe though.

 

So Witness is an important album in Katy Perry’s career. It’s a test for her audience and her fans. Really it’s they who have to raise their standards on this one. Witness might be the richest album Perry has done yet.

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