Editor’s Note: A few days after Albumism Editor-in-Chief Justin Chadwick tasked Libby Cudmore with writing the review of Katy Perry’s new album ‘Witness,’ he unexpectedly received the following email from her. Though the absence of even a single filled star above would seem to be all that we really need to know, Ms. Cudmore makes her point abundantly clear below and her candor is to be, er, commended. Swish. Swish.
Have I wronged you somehow? I'm sorry I was late on my Justin Townes Earle review, and I'm sorry I dragged my feet on getting that Chastity Belt piece in. But I don't think that was enough to warrant, well, this.
Maybe this album was a mistake. It happens. You order a pop album and instead you get a mishmash of toy clackers, a 10th grade piano recital and Super NES fight scene music ("Witness"). It's to be expected when music is produced in a poorly-regulated sweatshop and filtered through the mouth of an off-brand Barbie. No one is to blame, of course, but I'd rather listen to a 10-hour loop of Streets of Rage music while getting my wisdom teeth pulled.
I thought we had agreed that we were past the break room incident. My lawyer says those charges will never stick.
I will say this, Justin, now that you're my blood enemy. Nothing amuses me more than rich white girls telling the rest of us that we're not real, that we're just living in a bubble and dancing to pop songs like a bunch of zombies ("Chained to the Rhythm"). Life is hard, everybody, and while you're all Pokémon Go-ing on your iPhones while eating avocado toast at Coachella, Katy Perry is thinking deep thoughts about the world and plights of, like, people who are suffering.
My grandmother has a phrase for this sort of silly exercise: Bless your heart. Bless your heart, Katy Perry. Your daft, rhinestone-studded, inflatable plastic heart.
I have always called Taylor Swift the Christie Masters of pop music, but that does not make Katy Perry Heather Mooney simply by existing in my Romy & Michele's High School Reunion analogy ("Swish Swish"). It makes her the chick who pinches you in science class, then starts crying really loudly when you give her a dirty look, and then posts “UGH SO TIRED OF DRAMA” on her Facebook page with 10,000 seemingly random emojis.
This album is only an hour long, and it is the longest hour I have ever spent.
Remember that time I broke the Albumism office garbage disposal trying to get rid of...well, you know what I was trying to do, and you got mad because it made a really horrible sound, like “BBBRRWWWWRRRRRRRRGGGGG,” and you were all like, "Libby, could you NOT, I'm trying to listen to Fleet Foxes in here. Wait, why are there cops in our parking lot?" Well, what I DIDN'T tell you is that, in addition to trying to get rid of the evidence, I was also recording a sample for "Hey Hey Hey." NOW who feels like a jerk, Justin?
There's an earnestness to this album, like a Lisa Frank notebook covered with I VOTED stickers. But Katy Perry is 32, not 22, and her world view should be made up of more than just hashtags and gossip. Witness does little to elevate her onto the plane of higher thinking that she believes she belongs on. It's not against the law to make pop music (yet), so Perry may want to consider not shitting all over the people who buy her music because she sees herself as more enlightened. It's as if she doesn't believe the rah-rah empowerment message splattered all over Witness applies to anyone but her. She's the only person who can vote Hillary and still like to dance and wear red lipstick, and her listeners are all just sheeple who need her to guide them to the slaughter.
You'll be hearing from my lawyer, Justin. He told me he would call you the minute he left visiting hours.
Notable Tracks: None