Review: Witness by Katy Perry

Witness by Katy Perry“What the hell is this?” is something you expect to say after a Katy Perry record – but not in this context. I’m hard-pressed to find any redeeming quality from Witness. All right, it’s not a terrible record. It’s serviceable. I don’t find anything repulsing with this, but I don’t find anything that is worth writing back home for. It’s everything I’ve heard before, from many others who have taken this road, a road Katy herself helped pave. Perhaps that’s the most disappointing part: even in her most middling records she managed to bring something new to the equation; at the very least her presence alone makes her records interesting. But in this overlong mish-mash of pop trends and a handful of attempts to be taken seriously, Witness ends up being an utterly forgettable, inessential record, and whatever “purposeful” intentions were there gets lost in the mush. “What the hell is this?” indeed. [NB]2/5

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Review: Prism by Katy Perry

Prism by Katy PerryPrism‘s predecessor was such a huge hit that we had to wait for three whole years for another Katy Perry album to come out. It would’ve been better if she wore her symbolic blue wig performing these songs. Or maybe it’s just me. Doesn’t listening to “Walking On Air” conjure neon colors in your imagination? We’re looking at a tamed party girl music here, I guess, with bits of late 80s electropop here and there. I wish “Ghost” was more ballad-y, although “By The Grace of God” gave me something it couldn’t. It’s the type of song that goes out to everyone who can’t keep their shit together. I even had to stop myself from crying! “Birthday” and “This Love” ultimately won my heart by sporting those 80s vibes that reminded me of Breakfast Club. So. If Prism was a novel, it would’ve been the story of a strong woman’s love suicide and how she put herself back, piece by piece. [SY] | 4/5

Pop goes the early noughties, part five: It all goes down to Britney

“I’m A Slave 4 U” by Britney Spears | I’d be a hypocrite if I insist that pop nowadays is overtly sexual as opposed to the past. There’s always been sexual references in music from the time of the Beatles: if we’re talking about the period I’m focusing on this week, it’d be Britney Spears sweating around to impossible dance moves on “I’m A Slave 4 U” or wearing an almost sheer onesie on the Grammy-winning (yes) “Toxic”. Christina Aguilera, another pop princess of the late-90s, went raunchy with Stripped, and notably with “Dirrty” and that hormone-inducing outfit. But I sometimes wonder whether the current pop crop would have lasting careers like them both. Okay, that’s not exactly spot-on – Britney went on a downward spiral, after all – but will most of today’s pop artists end up being footnotes? Sure, Katy Perry and Rihanna – two more artists playing with their sexuality, in different ways – are doing well. (Does Taylor Swift fall under that category, too?) But the likes of Ke$ha, or the rest of the turbo-pop ilk littering the charts nowadays – what about them? Will they give way to the guitar-led stuff from the Lumineers or Phillip Phillips, or to the ballads of Adele? Not everybody can be Beyoncé, after all. (Thanks to Ale for the recommendation – and to Edsel, for indirectly causing that recommendation. Have things I should hear? Drop me a line here.)