Katy Perry tops this bill, but the real focus should be on Carly Rae Jepsen, the reigning cool queen of pop. After all, Perry is sooooo 2010-to-2013, and her new album, Witness—its painfully “woke” promotional rollout, and its chart-allergic singles—has fueled speculation among the pixel-pushing class that her career is all but over.
But I’m not ready to give up on Katy! Lest we forget, she’s the superstar behind one of the greatest runs in Billboard Hot 100 history: when Perry placed five straight songs from her Teenage Dream album into the #1 spot. Never mind the fact that you couldn’t escape (the admittedly aggravating) “Roar” in 2013, and that her most recent mega-hit, “Dark Horse,” just might be her best single ever. (No one will agree with that last one, but I believe it.)
Sure, the over-the-top, luxe-pop production on Witness doesn’t quite jibe with Perry’s new, enlightened brand message. And the album has more listless filler than we’d like. But... she’s going to play “California Gurls” and “E.T.” and “Firework” and “Last Friday Night,” right? She’s not going to not play them, and those songs still bang.
And be sure to get to the Moda Center on time, because Jepsen is a master craftswoman of pop music who had that one big hit years ago, yes, but also put out one of the very best albums of the 21st century so far: 2015’s E•MO•TION. She’s headlining arena shows in that alternate timeline we all wish we were living in.