One day after dropping glittery disco balls with headphones around the world, Katy Perry unveiled her new single “Chained to the Rhythm” early Friday morning. It’s her first song since the release of Olympic Anthem “Rise” last summer.
The song, featuring Bob Marley’s grandson Skip and written by Perry, Sia and producer Max Martin, among others, rides along a mid-tempo beat, as Marley blends his reggae background with the track’s buoyant synth-pop. The lyric video released alongside the song shows a pair of hands making a meal in a miniaturized kitchen. At the end of the clip, a hamster watching one of his peers run on a wheel on television receives the tiny feast.
Perry injects a subversive element underneath the ostensibly frothy song, lacing her lyrics with ideas of selfish comfortability and complacency. “Come on, turn it up, keep it on repeat/Stumbling around like a wasted zombie/Yeah, we think we’re free,” she sings. Elsewhere, she sings, “Living our lives through a lens/Trapped in our white-picket fence/Like ornaments/So comfortable, we live in a bubble.”
On Wednesday, the singer released a map showing 24 locations where fans could plug their headphones into a disco ball chained to an object and preview the song. (The crowd, at least in New York and San Francisco, appeared to be far sparser than expected.)
Perry’s public focus recently has been more political than musical. Last month, the ardent Hillary Clinton supporter joined Madonna, Cher, Scarlett Johansson, Amy Schumer and others at the nationwide Women’s March on Washington one day after Donald Trump’s inauguration.
She recently served as executive producer on a new public service announcement that questioned whether Trump’s xenophobic rhetoric is a sign that history could repeat itself. “Don’t normalize hate,” Perry wrote to her 95 million followers on Twitter. The PSA told the true story of 89-year-old Japanese-American Haru Kuromiya, who recalled being registered and placed in an internment camp for four years during World War II.
Perry will debut the song live at this year’s Grammys Sunday night.
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