Perry Challenges the Crowd in Liberating ‘Chained to the Rhythm’

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A pastel-hued amusement park abounding with equally cheerful patrons and twirling rides has all the makings for a picture-perfect music video—perhaps a little too perfect.

Such elements are captured in Katy Perry’s newest music video for “Chained to the Rhythm.” Released by Capitol Records on Feb. 10, the song features the talents of Skip Marley, a Jamaican vocalist, as well as Sia, who lended her award-winning writing skills to the track. Perry performed her newest hit at the 59th Annual Grammy Awards on Feb. 12, introducing a more modern twist on her always colorful showmanship, and the music video for the single, which dropped on Vevo on Feb. 21, maintains this same kind of revival.

The video opens on the entrance of a theme park named Oblivia. Much like its title, the visitors of this park are oblivious to the real world surrounding them. They all dress in similarly vibrant attire and bear identical expressions of robotically-empty jubilation. The various structures and monuments of the park entrance them, and Perry seems to be the only participant who deviates from the utterly dystopian fiasco.



Her ultimate diversion ripens when Skip Marley emerges from a black-and-white showing of the stereotypical mass-audience film The Nuclear Family. He expresses the need for humanity to “break down the wall to connect, inspire.” But her revelation soon evaporates into syncing back with the crowd and dancing mindlessly to the bubblegum tune.

The mini film closes with a simple yet pungent close-up on Perry, whose eyes convey nothing short of horror.

The “read between the rides” perspective offers a sharp dichotomy between the elation of the visual effects and the calamitous meaning behind them. Perry sings that we are “living our lives through a lens” and “chained” not only to the rhythm but also to conformity.  

While the aesthetic of Perry’s “Chained to the Rhythm” will charm your eyes and bop in your head, its message will leave you concerned of our current state of blind acceptance—and perhaps have you questioning your last trip to Disney World.

Featured Image By Capitol Records

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