By: Muhammad-Ahad Ghani
Witness by Katy Perry (2017)
Katy Perry, who set the bar high with her album Prism (2013), fails to meet expectations with her latest album Witness (2017). Witness is not a terrible album overall — it does contain hits like “Roulette” and “Act My Age” (on the Target edition). Despite that, it also includes misses like “Mind Maze.” Poorly written lyrics such as “you broke me wide open, open sesame” and “your words are like Chinese water torture” sound odd. Despite taking aim at Taylor Swift in “Swish Swish,” Perry doesn’t get far in dissing her. The song does feature one of Nicki Minaj’s strongest verses to date and is worth a listen. However, by relying on other artists’ talents — and collaborating on all three of her singles — Perry makes it obvious that she is struggling to make a hit.
Witness lacks Teenage Dream-esque hits, which is disappointing. Let’s just hope that she’s back to form on her next album, and that it won’t take four years to make.
Reputation by Taylor Swift (2017)
Taylor Swift has come a long way from 2008’s “Love Story.” Her latest album, Reputation, is her darkest one yet. Swift sheds her girl-next-door image and acknowledges criticism that has plagued her for the past few years by taking ownership of her narrative. Reputation is a cohesive work of art with solid lyrics, particularly in “New Year’s Day,” as well as impressive vocals, like those in “Don’t Blame Me.”
Swift makes bold moves in her album. She swears, a first for her, in her song “I Did Something Bad.” She surprisingly enlists rapper Future on “End Game.” On “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things,” she even seems to diss Kanye West and Kim Kardashian with lyrics like “. . . you stabbed my back while shaking my hand.” While I believe 2014’s 1989 remains her best work to date, Reputation is one that demands a couple of plays to get you hooked.
While neither album delivers career-highs, I’ve got to hand this round to Swift’s Reputation. As Perry took a more in-your-face approach to the promotion of the album, including a four-day all-access Witness World Wide live stream, Swift took the backseat and let the music speak for itself. Where Witness lacks cohesiveness and direction for Perry, Reputation completely rebrands Swift whilst delivering a catalogue of anthemic songs. In conclusion, while Perry remains a bigwig in the music industry and will most likely come back swinging, Swift takes the crown this time around.