Who Let 'Witness' Happen?
    • WEDNESDAY, JUNE 14, 2017

    • Posted by: Meredith Nardino

    Katy Perry thinks she's woke now and she won't stop until you congratulate her. The former gospel singer turned international pop sensation apparently took Kylie Jenner's words to heart and made this the year of realizing stuff. Perry's fourth album Witness focuses on the singer's attempt to make pop music serve a purpose, but ultimately falls short of any groundbreaking revelations.

    If you read Perry's description of her cultural awakening, you could already tell this was not going to end well. She spoke with Entertainment Tonight before the album's release, stating "my education and my consciousness comes from my voice, and that's how I see, and that's how I witness you and that's how you witness me."

    There's a lot to unpack here. Perry spent much of last year campaigning alongside Hillary Clinton and recently spoke with Black Lives Matter activist Deray McKesson about white privilege. She's made efforts to investigate the issue of unequal representation in the industry, openly claimed the title of feminist, and accepted her many insensitive mistakes of cultural appropriation. But the pop star's supposed new perspective is about as weak and confusing as that statement above.

    Since the beginning of her career in 2009, Perry has tried to be edgy while still making bubblegum pop that consistently dominates the charts. Witness was intended to be her declaration of liberation, both artistically and personally. There are brief flashes of potential on the record, but these moments are overpowered by cringeworthy attempts to be insightful. For every feeble political statement like "Chained to the Rhythm" and "Power," there's a ridiculous pop ballad like the tragic tale about bravely deciding to save a message as a draft, aptly titled "Save as Draft."

    Witness consists of only 15 of the 40 songs Perry wrote while on the seemingly never ending Prismatic World Tour. So we can only assume the 25 rejects were somehow even worse than what made the final cut, which is genuinely appalling. We can all laugh at the deliciously petty diss track "Swish Swish" and the fact that "karate chopping the cliches and norms" is a lyric that actually exists, but Perry's failed attempt to be an advocate for activism is a desperate grasp for relevance.

    Sufjan Stevens said it best: "LORD JESUS HAVE MERCY."

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