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Hip-hop powerhouse Nicki Minaj shares her rhymes into “Swish Swish,” whose urban, funky rhythm could have come from Janet Jackson, while rising trap trio Migos make “Bon Appetit” even saucier. To a dancehall backdrop, “Bon Appetit” shows a new side to the “spread-like-a-buffet” Perry as she sings of the pleasures of oral sex — “Fresh out the oven, melt-in-your-mouth kind of lovin’.” On “Roulette,” the most classic Perry song on the album with an infectious dance-pop beat, the more mature Perry describes her new taste for romantic danger — “Take the safety off for a minute.” Perry also allows more space for her own voice, showing her talent for gliding from a gentle rasp to smooth higher ranges. Over understated electronica, she lets her vocals carry the songs “Miss You More” and “Into Me You See.” In a nod to its rap style, “Swish Swish” comes off as a diss track as Perry — the world’s most followed person on Twitter with nearly 100 million followers — warns: “Funny my name keeps coming out yo mouth / ‘Cause I stay winnin’.” “Swish Swish” is sure to fuel speculation it is a response to fellow mega-star Taylor Swift, whose own song “Bad Blood” was widely seen as an attack on Perry, whom Swift has suggested sabotaged her tour by poaching her staff. Whatever the rivalry, Perry and Swift both turned for their latest albums to Swedish producers Max Martin, Ali Payami and Shellback — who behind the scenes have created some of the 21st century’s top hits. If sexuality is part of adulthood, so too are romantic entanglements. Perry’s stories are full of relationships that never quite end neatly, with an overly active smartphone ever ready to rekindle memories. “You don’t have to subtweet me / My number’s always been the same,” Perry sings on “Save as Draft.” Perry — whose real name is Katheryn Hudson — returned to write “Witness” at her home in Santa Barbara, California, where she reconciled with her conservative Christian parents and returned with a new short-cut, blonde hairdo. The singer has described her journey home as part of healing, saying she was able on “Witness” to reveal more of herself beyond the Katy Perry stage persona. While Perry kept quiet on the music front last year, she emerged as one of the most prominent celebrity supporters of Hillary Clinton’s ill-fated presidential campaign.
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