It’s been 10 years since Katy Perry released her debut “One Of The Boys” in 2008. This year sees the release of her fourth album “Witness” touted as signaling a new era in her career.
With experimentation at the top of her to-do list, the set prompted Perry to allow a small platoon of producers to tweak her sound. Note though that Perry still co-wrote all of the tracks and got her hands dirty as far as crafting her latest offering is concerned.
The new set kicks off with the title track, a head-bobbing mid-tempo banger with an electro-pop tinge. Likewise with “Hey Hey Hey,” a statement song delving into women stereotypes. There’s “Roulette,” a synth-driven number bordering on ’80s new wave.
The Katy Perry hooks are still there, although buried in the beats. The Duke Dumont-produced “Swish Swish” is one good example of that, starting out straight pop but morphs right into a house beat. Sampling “Star 69” by Fatboy Slim, the track also features Nicki Minaj who brings up the rear (pun intended) with a wicked rap break.
Another electro-flavored track is “Déjà vu” a song about a relationship gone stale. The faux thunder beats that mark “Power” every so often punctuate another Perry tell-all about a bad relationship.
This albun borrows elements from house, EDM, R&B and Hiphop. It takes careful listening to detect it, but there’s ebb and flow to it all.
From down-tempo numbers on the fraught-themed “Mind Maze,” the longing ambient sound on “Miss You More,” and the fine, one-that-got-away themed “Save As Draft;” to the rising cadence of “Chained To The Rhythm,” (featuring Bob Marley grandson Skip Marley, and a Sia Furler co-write credit) then pulsing with a Massive Attack-like build up on “Tsunami,” here’s a sonic trip if you’re willing to ride shotgun.
Perry describes her latest work as simply one “fun, dance-y and dark and light” set. Well, yeah, that too.
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