The Meaning of Chained to the Music


Published by on April 16, 2017

Katy Perry Takes Us Back to 1984

Katy Perry’s dystopian spin on pop takes us for a whirl in her hit, ‘Chained to the Rhythm’

Little-Miss-Sunshine Katy Perry is taking a turn for the dark side in her song “Chained to the Rhythm”– a huge social critique and one of 2017’s most politically-charged and pop songs.  

In her latest hit, Perry describes what pretty much sounds like the collapse of society as we know it. Considering her anti-establishment Warped Tour roots and her open dissatisfaction with the status quo, and particularly Donald Trump, it’s no wonder she’s coming out with what could be the danciest protest song to come out this year (so far).

Katy Perry’s new music video features everything from eerily happy pastel-colored hipsters to hand-pumped toxic water cocktails, all frolicking in an atomic-age paradise aptly named Oblivia.

Why ‘Chained to the Rhythm’ is Feb 2017’s Most Political Pop Song

From that synopsis alone you can tell that she’s making a bold environmental and political statement about our state of affairs, and she doesn’t bother to be tongue in cheek about the emptiness of personal, political, artistic, and social interactions in the age of social media, so let’s dive into what “Chained to the Music” is all about…

So comfortable, we’re living in a bubble, bubble
So comfortable, we cannot see the trouble, trouble

So put your rose-colored glasses on
And party on

These lyrics may come as a surprise considering Perry’s party-centric brand of pop– but it seems like she’s had a change of heart, and isn’t afraid to sing about it.

From start to finish, she’s highlight the gruesome reality that we’re hooked on instant gratification, fun, and “joy”– but all of the things we do to make us feel good aren’t really managing to satisfy anyone.  

With her new brand of political pop, Katy Perry is showing her fans the beautiful, manic dystopian world where thrills are all that matter. Between the candy-colored outfits and the futuristic display, it may seem like more fun than metaphor– but make no mistake, her lyrics are clear as crystal.

Dance, dance, dance to the distortion
Turn it up, keep it on repeat
Stumbling around like a wasted zombie
Yeah, we think we’re free

Synchronized selfie-zombies aside, this music video is sending a message that we can all relate to: the idea that most of the things we work for, have, and do aren’t giving us a real sense of satisfaction, and certainly aren’t doing anything but evading the inevitable collapse of our capitalist wonderland.  

And who better than Skip Marley to collaborate on this one, singing:

It is my desire
Break down the walls to connect, inspire
Up in your high place, liars
Time is ticking for the empire.
The truth they feed is feeble
As so many times before
They greed over the people
They stumbling and fumbling
And we about to riot
They woke up, they woke up
the lions

Those lyrics have seemingly never been closer to home, as people around the world are taking on a stronger social and political stance than ever.

Potentially even a critique of her own work, Perry is suggesting that the empty-headed entertainment industry as we know it has been hiding from our harsh reality for too long.

At the very end of her video, Katy wakes up and walks right off the hamster wheel, and we commend her for it.  

Maybe she’s been watching just as many episodes of Black Mirror as we have, or maybe this is a first of many eye-opening pop songs to come this year.

Either way, we’ll be chained to the rhythm to find out what she does next.

Like what you see? Browse fan interpretations of Perry’s latest hit, “Chained to the Rhythm”, at .

Want to weigh in on the conversation? Join us now and become a part of the internet’s largest lyric interpretation community.



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