Album REDUX Reviews (Witness, 4:44, & Invasion Of Privacy)

Hello, I’m MusiCommentator, and a while ago, I did a few Redux Reviews on all of the Kanye West affiliated projects that I reviewed during the summer of 2018.  Being a music reviewer that tries to review new stuff, my opinion tends to change after given a longer time to reflect on the product, so I’ve had my opinions change on albums in the past.  Thus, I’ve decided to do another round of redux reviews, this time on Katy Perry’s “Witness“, JAY Z’s “4:44“, and Cardi B’s “Invasion Of Privacy“.  Let’s not waste any more time and talk about these albums!

 

Witness (by Katy Perry) [Review Released June 30th, 2017]

Image result for witness katy perry 500x500

Old Score: 6/10
New Score: 3/10

This was actually my first album review on this website (oh, those were the days), and honestly, I don’t know what the hell I was thinking giving this album such a positive score!  Well, actually I do, and I’m going to get into that.

“Witness” was Katy Perry’s attempt at being “woke”, and for the most part, it failed miserably.  The “woke” stuff seen on this album is easily the worst part of it, as Katy fumbles over and over again trying to be relatable and super conscious simultaneously.  The lead single of this album “Chained To The Rhythm” sees Katy hopping on her high horse and trying to tell all of us “sheeple” that we need to get out of the fake world we’re living in.  The lyric “Are we tone deaf?/Keep sweeping it under the mat/Thought we could do better than that” really shows how arrogant she is about this topic, yet SHE’S the one that makes generic pop music that keeps people in their comfort zones…hmm.  The other “woke” songs are no better.  “Pendulum”, at its core, is just a bland motivational song with no motivation behind it.  “Hey Hey Hey” uses absolutely awful metaphors to try and show how “powerful” she is.  But frankly, I don’t think anyone is listening to the lyrics “A babydoll with a briefcase, yeah” and “Marilyn Monroe in a monster truck” and feel empowered by them.  “Mind Maze” and “Bigger Than Me” have lyrics that convey she is trying to get people out of their comfort zones and start fighting the system, but with how weak the instrumentals sound, it feels more like she is going through an existential crisis.  All of these songs show how bad you will flop if you try to act “woke” without having any grasp on societal consciousness.

I think the main reason I was so lenient on this album is that I liked the “love songs” on this project when I first reviewed it.  These include the title track, “Roulette”, “Deja Vu”, “Miss You More”, “Save As Draft”, and “Into Me You See”.  When listening to these tracks, they are decent, but once they’re out of your ears, there is no reason to return to them.  They all stand as very generic love songs that have almost no replay value because of how one-sided and boring the lyrics are.  And, when the lyrics aren’t boring, they’re cringey.  Just look at “Into Me You See”, where in the chorus Katy sings “You broke me wide open, open sesame”.  This song is very somber, and the chorus is supposed to be the intense part of this track, so why would she say something as dumb as “open sesame”?  That phrase was literally used as a joke in a Spongebob episode!

The few songs that don’t fall in the categories “super woke” or “generic love track” aren’t much better.  “Power” is a female empowerment track, but Katy doesn’t do a good job empowering.  If you feel empowered by the song, that’s fine, but really the only enjoyment I could find out of this song is the few instrumental flourishes sprinkled throughout, like that sweet drum break.  “Tsunami” and “Bon Appetit” both use some of the worst puns ever to talk about sex.  Maybe if the metaphors sounded good I would be lenient on these songs, but I can’t when phrases like “Make me ripple ’til I’m wavy” and “Hope you’ve got some room/For the world’s best cherry pie” are being used.  The only song I liked in this category was “Swish Swish”, and even then, I don’t see myself coming back to this track.

Yeah, this is a pretty bad album, and one I was incredibly easy on when I first reviewed it.  A popstar trying to be socially conscious is almost always a bad idea, and Katy shows why on “Witness”.  She says things that sound “woke”, but really are very shallow upon closer inspection, and the rest of the songs on here aren’t enough to save this album from being a major flop.

 

4:44 (by JAY Z) [Review Released July 16th, 2017]

Old Score: 7.5/10
New Score: 9.5/10

Unlike with the “Witness” review, my thoughts on this album have changed for the better, and I can describe why these thoughts changed more clearly than “I don’t know what I was thinking”.

For starters, this was the first JAY Z album I listened to all the way through.  I said in my original review that I had never really had a serious, previous encounter with Jay’s music before, and this is definitely one of those albums that goes best with context.  After I did this review, I went back and listened to most of his other albums, and “4:44” is far different from his previous works.  He is more intimate and personal on here than on other albums, and I think it’s best you be acquainted with his past albums to fully appreciate that intimacy on here.  During my review, I did not have this schema, so that possibly affected the score.

Secondly, I’m also a lot more mature than I was way back in my kiddie years of reviewing this album.  If I get this post out on its planned release date (maybe it’ll be a few days late, but hopefully not), then it will have been exactly two years since my original review.  I’ve done a lot of growing and maturing since then–I got a car, got my first job, and even became an adult–so it is safe to say that my skills as a reviewer and a music listener have enhanced.  “4:44” is album that covers mature topics, or at least topics that are better understood if one is more mature.  When I was younger, I was able to appreciate this maturity, but now, I can sympathize and relate to it a lot more, making this album subjectively better to me.  Looking back at the review, I see how some of the themes totally went over my young, naive head.  I completely missed the point of tracks like “Family Feud” and “Moonlight”, and it seems my ignorant mind was not yet ready to embrace the controversy of “The Story Of O.J.”.  I can definitely love these tracks more now that I can better grasp their topics.

And again, unlike “Witness” this isn’t an album where I like some tracks more and some tracks less now that I have had more time to listen to it.  My love for every track has grown more since I first heard this album.  I still like some tracks more than others, but overall, this is an album that I grown to love and would probably consider one of the best albums of 2017.

 

Invasion Of Privacy (by Cardi B) [Review Released April 14, 2018]

Old Score: 8/10
New Score: 6/10

This is going to be the shortest of these re-reviews, not because I think this album is the least interesting out of this bunch, but rather because I don’t feel I have too much to say about it.

I think the main reason that I reviewed this album so highly in my original review is because I got caught up in the hype.  I know, I know, that’s bad of me.  Probably bad enough for me to get my critic card revoked.  I’m usually very good at not letting the hype get to me when reviewing albums/songs, but even the mighty MusiCommentator makes mistakes every now and then.  This isn’t a bad album, but giving this album an 8/10 was waaaaay too nice.

At its core, “Invasion Of Privacy” is a pretty by-the-numbers pop trap album.  Still, that doesn’t mean I hate it or anything.  Cardi B has a lot of energy and charisma throughout this project that lets her stand above her contemporaries and makes a lot of these tracks much more enjoyable than if a generic mumble rapper were on them.  Songs like “Get Up 10”, “Drip”, and “I Do” are great examples of her energetic, fun performances.  There are songs on here too, though, that I liked originally but don’t really care for now.  “Be Careful” and “Ring” are songs I praised, but now I see them as bland and a waste of Cardi’s talents.

I know it sounds like I’m just jumping around to try and make this longer, but that is really because, like I said earlier, I was just caught up in the hype when I originally reviewed this.  When the hype died down, I was able to see this album for what it is: a decent pop trap album that is good in a club setting and occasional casual listens.

 

Thank you for reading my redux reviews. If you liked these re-reviews, make sure to follow my website, Twitter, and Instagram, like this post, and be sure to check in to read my future reviews. Also, if you have a song or album you would like to see reviewed, tell me in the comments. Until then, keep listening to good music! I know I will.

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2 thoughts on “Album REDUX Reviews (Witness, 4:44, & Invasion Of Privacy)

  1. Great write-up Carter. Yeah, Katy really faltered on “Witness”. As the saying goes, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. On the one hand, I admire her for making an attempt to be ‘woke’, but sadly, she missed the mark. While I’ve really liked a few of her hits like Hot ‘n’ Cold, Teenage Dream and Wide Awake, much of her stuff is just pop fluff or crap (like the awful Dark Horse).

    I like Jay-Z and think he’s a brilliant songwriter and decent rapper, though I’ve never really gotten all that much into his stuff. I’ve listened to some of “4:44”, but really should listen to the entire album.

    As for Cardi B, you already know what I think of her music.

    Liked by 1 person

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