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Katy Perry, Lorde and Halsey: How to Make a Pop Album in 2017


Katy Perry, one of pop’s glossiest stars, explored a new direction on her fourth album, “Witness.”

Valerie Macon/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The Popcast is hosted by Jon Caramanica, a pop music critic for The New York Times. It covers the latest in pop music criticism, trends and news.

These days, the pure pop stars and the anti-pop pop stars reside side by side, in uneasy symbiosis. They need each other, in a way — both groups with the same goals, but also indirectly undermining the approach of the others along the way.

In recent weeks, both sides have made noise: Katy Perry, perhaps the last of the glossy pop stars, released her latest album, “Witness,” while pop counternarrative specialists Lorde and Halsey returned with new albums, “Melodrama” and “hopeless fountain kingdom.”

On this week’s Popcast, Mr. Caramanica is joined by Caryn Ganz, The New York Times’s pop music editor, and Joe Coscarelli, The Times’s pop music reporter, to discuss what these albums have to say about the current moment in pop music, and also, implicitly, about each other.

Email your questions, thoughts and ideas about what’s happening in pop music to popcast@nytimes.com.

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