Katy Perry’s fourth album was to be more socially conscious. We weren’t expecting anything akin to the likes of Anti-Flag or Bad Religion, but considering that Perry herself stated that was the sort of album she wanted to make, it’s a little surprising that things haven’t quite turned out like that.
By Jane Howkins
Witness is Perry’s most electronic album yet, and considering the way the popular music industry is going, there’s probably more of that to come. Computer generated instruments and synths perpetuate the songs, with real instrumentation sparse. Songs such as Mind Maze show a particular example of this, with Perry’s full voice drifting joyously across the backing tracks. To Perry’s credit, there are a lot of layers to these instrumentals, and it may take a while for fans to unpick everything that lies beneath.
Whilst perhaps lacking lyrically, Perry’s voice is still strong, and autotune seems as though it’s being used more as an effect, rather than anything else. A duet with Nicki Minaj on Swish Swish is also rather surprising, but it does actually work remarkably well.
A lack of originality often comes with the territory in this genre, but whilst Perry has always stayed well between the boundaries of pop music, there always seemed to be a stronger hint of experimentation before. Perry’s songs on her previous albums tended to be much more distinct from one another, whereas here they tend to blend into one, and we think this is partly due to the move to electronic instrumentation that she has taken on.
There are some gems here (Hey Hey Hey is a particular favourite). However, perhaps her next album will be more socially conscious.