With her latest single, released on Friday (Aug. 9), Perry has recovered the top-level song craft that both her fans and general pop enthusiasts have been craving for years, a return to form for an artist who spent the better part of this decade’s first half dominating the mainstream. Katy Perry, expert pop-song supplier, is back. Resistance isn’t futile, but it’s a lot less fun.
Part of what makes the Perrissaince so gleefully entertaining is how unexpected it is — at least now, in the middle of 2019. Perry, who collected a whopping 10 No. 1 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 chart across her first three albums from 2008 to 2014, faltered as a bulletproof commercial entity with her fourth album, 2017’s politics-adjacent and under-developed Witness. The album marked Perry’s first project that failed to consistently produce hits, and even with lead single “Chained to the Rhythm” debuting in the top 10 of the Hot 100, the album was largely considered a commercial misfire.