Katy Perry is best known for lighthearted pop songs like “I Kissed a Girl” and “Teenage Dream” as well as uplifting empowerment anthems like “Firework” and “Roar,” but her new song “Chained to the Rhythm” is darker and more political than her usual fare, and her new video for the single reflects that. Watch it above.
The song’s uptempo dancehall beat belies a heavier message about being oblivious to the trouble that surrounds us. “Happily numb / So comfortable, we live in a bubble, a bubble / So comfortable, we cannot see the trouble, the trouble,” she sings. “Turn it up, keep it on repeat / Stumbling around like a wasted zombie / Yeah, we think we’re free.” Then reggae artist Skip Marley is featured in a guest verse in which he adds, “Ay, up in your high place, liars / Time is ticking for the empire.”
Perry never directly references Donald Trump — this political statement is more oblique than, say, A Tribe Called Quest and Busta Rhymes blasting “President Agent Orange” at the Grammys — but it does represent a departure for Perry, who performed in support of Hillary Clinton at the 2016 Democratic National Convention. And the video follows suit, taking place at a brightly colored amusement park called “Oblivia” where patrons go through the motions of artificial pleasures.
“Chained to the Rhythm” was written by Perry with Marley, Ali Payami and hit-makers Max Martin and Sia, and it could be Perry’s ticket to her first Grammy. Though she has topped the charts and earned nominations for Album of the Year (“Teenage Dream,” 2011), Record of the Year (“Firework,” 2012) and Song of the Year (“Roar,” 2014), Perry is currently 0-for-13 at the Grammys, which puts her in eighth place on the list of the most nominated artists who haven’t won.
What do you think of Katy Perry’s new video and song? Will it finally win her that elusive Grammy? Watch the video above, then vote in our poll below and join the discussion on this and more in our forums.