Katy Perry has crafted a public persona of eccentricity and extremeness matched with electro-pop music. Her work is largely themed around self-reflection based on how others have seen her: often as a pop idol or sexual icon. Her style of music and sense of self make her incredibly well-spoken, and many find the best parts of themselves reflected in her. In a way, Katy Perry is a mirror for her fans, which is something that makes Witness such an interesting album.
Perry is generally well-spoken, and now Witness reveals her as outspoken. In addition to a different sound that lowers the pressure of the synth to allow for a more instrumental insertion, most of the songs this time around address either the world we live in, or the state of Perry's persona and how it relates to her true self. In a way, Witness acts like a vignette of individual statements: 'Chained to the Rhythm' expresses her politics and worldview, 'Bon Appetit' expresses how she believes she’s seen as well as making subtler nods towards gender-based power dynamics in society, and I would argue 'Into Me You See' expresses how she ultimately feels about herself as Katy Perry and not as Katheryn Hudson. Here, Katy is trying to open a dialogue and show - more than anything - that she’s her own person with her own thoughts; like watching a mirror shatter itself, revealing a familiar stranger on the other side. Ultimately, I think it works.
In one album, Katy transforms from the object into the witness, a change that's left an interesting aftermath. The fandom is split about Witness, which some regard as “different” from her other work or simply lackluster as pure pop music - but I’d argue that outside some new choices in ambience, this is the same work she’s been creating, with a maturing voice. I don’t know that any particular singles stand out as obvious hits, but I do think the album as a whole is definitely worth a listen.