CLEVELAND, Ohio – One of the more interesting things about Katy Perry’s scathing “Swish Swish” is it borrows from the same artist it takes aim at: Taylor Swift.
Perry’s new album “Witness” looks to capture the dance-happy sounds of the late 1980s and early 1990s that Swift’s “1989” paid homage to.
And given the highly publicized beef between the two, there’s bound to be comparisons.
But you probably won’t find too many people putting “Witness” in the same level as “1989.” Perry’s new album has a hard enough time measuring up to her own previous work.
Things start off well enough. The opening title track is a lively take on 1990s dance and house music with touches of modern synthpop. Perry replicates that formula on “Chained to the Rhythm,” a catchy hybrid of dancehall and disco, and the sexy Mike Will Made It-produced “Tsunami.”
While most of “Witness” focuses on dance pop, Perry goes into breakup mode on powerful slow burners like “Save as Draft” and “Into Me You See.” “Witness” could use more of those personal touches, as Perry gets lost in the rest of the album’s generic material.
“Hey Hey Hey” and “Roulette” are two of the most forgettable tunes Max Martin has produced in quite some time. Elsewhere, songs like “Deja vu” and “Bon Appetit” (which is almost rescued by Migos) are bogged down by corny metaphors.
It’s worth pointing out that none of Perry’s albums have been perfect. But “Witness'” flaws are made more visible with a lack of a timeless smash hit (i.e. “Dark Horse,” “Roar,” “Part of Me” or “Teenage Dream”) to save it. Grade: C+