“Chained to the Rhythm” by Katy Perry

Katy Perry’s latest album, Witness, has been the kind of disaster that we hadn’t seen a big-name Pop star experience in a long time. Yes, Britney Spears got a similar reception for her 2013 album Britney Jean, but she was much further past her commercial peak than Perry, so the result didn’t seem like nearly as much of a shock. Of all the songs on that album, this lead single seems to be the only one anyone has anything good to say about, but even it received a lukewarm reception. And frankly, I think it’s really rather underrated. If there’s anything pop culture in general could use more of right now, it’s scathing confrontations of its own hypocrisy, and while some found the fact that Perry, the former Number One purveyor of mindless dance tunes, was offering this insight hypocritical in itself, it’s worth noting that she phrases the song’s target as “we” throughout and generally seems to be well aware of her part in this phenomenon. Of course, the truth is that quite a bit of Witness had more interesting lyrical content than Perry’s earlier work. What sets this apart from those other songs on the album is that this one also has an actual tune…it may be presented as an ironic contrast to the subject matter, but this is the kind of danceable Pop tune we’ve come to expect from Perry. It has a bit of a Reggae flavor, which fits well with the guest verse by Bob Marley’s grandson. Like her previous bad album, Prism, Witness can at least say it produced a memorable lead single, and “Chained to the Rhythm” is actually a much more respectable song than “Roar”, since unlike that song, it wasn’t copied from an existing song by another artist and had lyrics that were actually about something.

Verdict: Good.

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