Unchain yourself from the status quo and do something interesting, Katy.
Is it bad that my main anguish with ‘Chained To The Rhythm’ is how the chorus rhymes “repeat” with “zombie”? Maybe I’m projecting my other exasperations that yet another female pop artist that I once loved is unable to break away from the status quo. The latest victim of the unimpressive, quickly forgettable pop song is Katy Perry, who’s chosen to replace her loud anthems with something rather ‘meh’.
The good news is that the verses are akin to Perry’s previous work, impressively smooth and longing but keeping her trademark harder vocal edge. When you reach the chorus, however, it’s unsurprising to learn that Sia has her fingers in the pie. (She picks up a co-writing credit as well as providing some uncredited vocals.) Though it’s undeniably catchy, like many of Sia’s recent offerings it lacks substance. Further annoyance is caused by the arrival of
Perry’s token choice of rapper Bob’s 19-year-old grandson Skip Marley, cutting in at the 2:47 mark with a pretty standard bridge that adds nothing to the overall song. It all feels cheap and muddled, orchestrated merely to sell records rather than make good pop music. In an era where emergent faces like Zara Larsson and Anne-Marie are tearing up the market with what seem to be weekly bangers, Perry probably should have stayed in 2012.
Another annoyance comes from the song appearing to fall victim to attempts to turn everything cultural into a political revolt. With Perry herself being a notable Hillary Clinton supporter, the web is filled with commentators insisting that ‘Chained To The Rhythm’ is a retort to Donald Trump’s America, but I’m not so sold. Sure, you can read into lyrics what you want, but an anguished press seems to be a little obsessed with blaming everything on the new President. (Yes, he’s a dick. We get it.) Just because Perry is inventive in her subtly political metaphors, painting Trump voters as “wasted zombies,” her comeback isn’t made any more listenable.
‘Chained To The Rhythm’ is out now via Capitol