The 12 Meanest Things Critics Said About Katy Perry's New Album
Katy Perry's fifth studio album Witness is now a reality. Not all critics have been kind to the effort, which has been plagued with plenty of distractions since Katy announced she was entering an era of "purposeful pop." I'll let the experts take it from here:
1. "In the age of the pop single, Witness isn't singular in the fact that it should not be listened to in one sitting. In fact, listening to this entire album at once—which is clearly not the way it was designed to be consumed—will make you feel like you are going insane. Every track sounds vaguely similar (aphoristic lyrics, sultry synths, the occasional musical instrument, an even more affirmative chorus) but is totally self-contained… Hearing Perry croon about how open and real she is after listening to more than an hour of highly impersonal pop is an insult to the intelligence of anyone who bothers to buy this album." – The Daily Beast
2. "But Witness, whose singles keep stalling out like Trump's travel ban, diagnoses only Perry's desperation for a hit… 'Hey Hey Hey' plays like a weak attempt to duplicate the success of her uplifting 2013 smash 'Roar,' this time with a paper-thin tune and clunky words about being 'Marilyn Monroe in a monster truck.'" – The Los Angeles Times
3. "Perry has replaced the eye of the tiger with the heart of a contemporary night owl, making an album of mostly moody, dreamy, reserved music – and one double-entendre-filled, AC/DC-ready food fight in 'Bon Appetit.' In turn, a pop icon blends into the rest of the radio… A brassy voice that once held long notes and sang lines like 'I am a champion' is now devoured in effects and reverb, rarely reaching the excited joy of punkier electronic-poppers like Robyn, Charli XCX or even recent singles from Lorde." – Rolling Stone
4. "Not all of her experiments bear fruit. 'Chained to the Rhythm' is an attempt to sneak some social satire into a club thumper. It's a trick Beyoncé has perfected, but Beyoncé's targets are hyper-specific. What does Perry have to say? That we're all 'trapped in our white picket fence/ Like ornaments.' Never mind that white picket fences are rarely seen today and went out of style long before Perry was born." – Consequence of Sound
5. "Perry should've taken a second listen to the advice on the penultimate track 'Pendulum,' 'Don't try and reinvent your wheel, cause you're too original.'" – USA Today
6. "Witness suffers from 'blockbusteritis,' the same kind of over-thinking and over-spending in pursuit of clichéd goals that turns so many superhero movies into empty spectaculars... For about half of Witness, Perry appears to be striving for meaning at the expense of catchy choruses. On the other half, it is as if she has lost her nerve and been persuaded to sing choruses that have no meaning. Witness is the sound of someone trying to cover too many bases." – The Telegraph
7. "The more earnest stuff that comes to dominate the second half is a mixed bag: 'Save as Draft' is a fine warning not to email under the influence of obsession. But maybe she should have killed-as-draft the mawkishness of 'Into Me You See,' or returned it to its apparent original author, Yoda… What we don't have here is the kind of obvious smash to which all of America would plainly say: Baby, you're a firework." – Variety
8. "Were you to completely the ignore the lyrics, Witness would be fine… Not only are they not in the least bit 'woke,' as Perry promised, but they don't make any sense." – British GQ
9. "Speaking of torture, in 'Déjà Vu,' a sleepy love song sporting a melancholy hook with plenty of radio potential, Perry trills softly, sadly: 'Your words are like Chinese water torture.' And then, as listeners, that's game over. We simply can't go any further with that song. Because that's just too funny. And then we're laughing about Chinese water torture, which isn't right, and before we know it Perry's singing, 'Yeah, they [words] slither like a centipede,' and so we have to go and put on some Kendrick Lamar for a second to feel OK about modern lyricism again." – British GQ
10. "The album plays out like the 'Can you hear me now?' Verizon commercials — a meme before we knew to call it that — as Perry wanders aimlessly in search of a connection. 'Can I get a witness?' she pleads. Feeling like the world is slipping out of your fingers is ripe for material, but more of than than not, it comes off as robotic. She's chained to her own rhythm." – Mashable
11. "With left-of-centre collaborators rather than trusted hitmakers, she's tried to make her own Lemonade, but it's closer to flat home-brand cola. Make no mistake, there's some really good album tracks here, there's just no great, obvious hit singles. Which could be the biggest risk of all. Maybe Max Martin is saving all his best work for the next Taylor Swift album?" - The Herald Sun
12. "Problems arise with clumsy reversions to the camp, innuendo-laden style of old, such as 'Bon Appétit,' one of several underperforming singles preceding the album, and too much filler. The routine 1980s gospel-house groove of 'Pendulum' aims at 'purposeful pop' inspiration, but its real purpose is padding." - The Financial Times
This story originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.
* Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.