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Katy Perry's 'Chained to the Rhythm' is Cliché Pop With Purpose

Katy Perry
Photo via @KatyPerry

Unpacking the genius in Perry's new single. 

After listening to Katy Perry's new single, "Chained to the Rhythm," we immediately thought, "Three years of waiting for this snoozy blunder?" But then in typical pop music fashion, after about three (or 13) listens through, we began to hear and understand the genius in her comeback track. Perry officially has us chained.

Related | Here's Katy Perry's Ankle Chained to a Disco Ball, Because Why Not?

Co-written by pop songstress, Sia, and produced by hitmaker Max Martin, there shouldn't have been any doubts this song would be a smash. But despite Perry's global disco ball takeover this week, people reportedly weren't too interested in hearing her latest. It's certainly a grower, not an immediate show-er, but hidden in Perry's archetypal lyrics is something deeper--"Purposeful Pop," as the artist tweeted today describing this era.

Related | Katy Perry Dropped Disco Balls Around the World to Promote Her New Single

The song is structured as if taken from a pop songwriting manual, packed with cliches that echo the mindlessness of our tech-obsessed society, constantly in need of escapism. "Are we crazy? Living our lives through a lens," she sings, before diving into a stereotypical chorus with lyrics like, "Dance, dance, dance to the distortion," and, "Drink (yeah!) this one's on me." It's blatantly empty, but that alone strengthens the song's ultimate intentions.

We've all become trapped, and Perry believes we're content blindly living our lives looking through "rose-colored glasses." Beyond being a dance-pop anthem, where we're "chained to the rhythm" of Perry's music, we're also "chained to the rhythm" of watching the world as bystanders, as if tweeting and posting statuses is sufficient political involvement. But in Trump's Not-So-Free World, sometimes avoidance is self-care, as we brainlessly dance and drink through it all.

Listen to Katy Perry's "Chained to the Rhythm," below, ahead of her Grammy Awards performance this Sunday.

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Michael Rulli