Nobody loves a good figure of speech more than Katy Perry. And on her new album, Witness, Perry deftly proves that she has mastered much of the junior-high English curriculum: We’ve got metaphors, similes, personification, and alliteration — heck, even some onomatopoeia. Sure, there’s a few mixed metaphors, and some of the songs veer into word-salad territory, but in terms of the sheer, um, scope, of her imagery, Katy is unparalleled.
She finds so many different ways to talk about the ocean (these are from three different songs).
The world’s your oyster, and I am the pearl / Open waters / Sink into me slowly
Can’t go with the flow, got to make waves / Even though, I look at the sand and I’m just one grain
I was a ship floating aimlessly … Then you came in like a sailor with a heart that anchored me / And every day I wake up grateful I’m no longer lost at sea
She compares someone to an old coupon:
You’re ‘bout cute as / An old coupon expired / And karma’s not a liar / She keeps receipts
She reimagines the Michelin Star system:
You could use some sugar / ‘Cause your levels ain’t right / I’m a five-star Michelin / A Kobe flown in / You want what I’m cooking, boy
She pays homage to the noble tradition of Fabergé-egg making:
You think that I am fragile like a Fabergé / You think that I am cracking, but you can’t break me
She wades into the gun-control debate:
’Cause my love’s a bullet with your name written on it / Just load it and spin it
She references obscure medieval-torture methods:
Your words are like Chinese water torture / And there’s no finish line, always one more corner / Yeah, they slither like a centipede / Why do you keep me at the end of a rope that keeps getting shorter?
She has definitely maybe been to Asia:
’Cause I can be zen, and I can be the storm, yeah / Smell like a rose, and I pierce like a thorn, yeah / Karate chopping the clichés and norms all in a dress
She mixes metaphors with aplomb:
Caught in a cage / A complex cage / Am I a car on fire? / Will I be devoured?
She encompasses multitudes:
A big beautiful brain with a pretty face, yeah / A babydoll with a briefcase, yeah / A hot little hurricane / ‘Cause I’m feminine and soft, but I’m still a boss, yeah / Red lipstick but still so raw, yeah / Marilyn Monroe in a monster truck
Katy: a philosopher and a poet.