Context – opening so many boxes

I remember my phone blowing up about a month ago as a friend of mine learned that Katy Perry was releasing a new album, sharing what felt like dozens of newly released singles from the upcoming project, what I now know as Witness.  In retrospect it was probably closer to three songs, but it felt like forever.

I can understand the hype around this.  The production is thicker and bassier than I’ve come to expect from Perry.  She appears to be more or less abandoning her bubble-gum and plastic aesthetic for something a bit more current, but at the risk of losing herself among her contemporaries making similar judgment calls.

But that’s where my excitement dies, as I didn’t find anything particularly engaging about any other aspect of the album.  The lyrics are probably fine, but nothing ear-wormed its way into my brain like a good pop song is supposed to.  The singing is likewise probably fine, but nothing made me stop my unboxings to reckon with the singer’s renditions of these songs.  Renditions might be the wrong word.

Nothing jumped out about this album, is all I’m trying to say.  It’s good enough, I suppose, and I gather I’ll be hearing at least a few of these songs in passing throughout the summer.  But I expect, nay, demand more of my pop music than passable background music.

Which isn’t to say I didn’t catch myself grooving along to a few songs.  It’s a producer’s world out there; or if it isn’t it should be considering how many mediocre performances are amplified and carried by some stellar beats.  I’m looking at Macklemore’s entire career, Justin Bieber’s Purpose, and that travesty of a Lil Yachty album.

Getting top notch beats behind your otherwise forgettable performances or songs can only get you so far, though.  And in the case of Witness, that distance equals roughly a stone’s through in a crowded forest of equally accessible options.