For the latest taste of Katy Perry’s upcoming fourth album, the pop star is pressing pause on the “purposeful pop” mission she introduced with her semi-socially conscious “Chained to the Rhythm.” Instead — perhaps with an eye on the looming Song of the Summer horserace — she’s back to garish, stupid-fun party jams that don’t even try to be subtle about cramming in as many sex metaphors as possible in three-and-a-half minutes. In other words, the kind of songs she’s best at.
In the past, Perry has melted boys’ popsicles, gone hunting for some peacocks, and made it feel like your birthday with slice after slice of her, um, cake — all with great success. There’s a lot to be amused by with “Bon Appétit,” too, from her half-whispered shout-outs to Kobe beef to the unbridled personality of her featured guests, the ubiquitous rap trio Migos.
Yet like the multi-course Michelin-starred meals she compares herself to, pop songs should have an arc, and that’s where Perry and top-notch collaborators (including Max Martin and Shellback) struggle a little. The main weakness of “Bon Appétit” is its momentum: When the chorus hits after the first verse, the track seems to be building up to something — maybe a drop, maybe a bonus hook — but then scuttles quietly into the next verse while leaving listeners hanging. It takes more than two minutes for the song to hit its stride and approach the bona fide banger it could be. But when it finally gets there, though? Now that’s a treat that’s worth a second helping. B+