Katy Perry rolled out her brand new single “Chained To The Rhythm” via disco ball listening stations all over the world, and then gave it a fiery, political performance at the Grammys. But her video for the track is even more overtly political and offers a scathing critique of capitalism and and all the hoops we jump through as American consumers.
Set in a theme park — the ultimate microcosm of the capitalistic experience — which is subtly called Oblivia, Perry wanders through themed rides that simulate buying a home, falling in love, establishing a nuclear family, and the most eerie “bombs away” ride, which emphasizes a whole different kind of nuclear. She’s decked out head to toe in her familiar Teenage Dream cotton candy aesthetic, but the stakes are much higher this time around. Crowds robotically move forward in sync together, waiting hours for their chance to run on their own personal hamster wheels.
Skip Marley, Bob Marley’s own grandson, breaks out of a TV depicting cookie-cutter families at one point to deliver a message of warning to the greedy, capitalist overlords who will soon be overthrown. Perry’s language, too, points to a disillusionment with the “utopia” that’s been created, and an urge to look beneath all this banality for something more. No word yet on the release date of Perry’s album or other new tracks, but if they’re anything in line with “Chained To The Rhythm,” the political and social criticism angle is here to stay.