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Chained to the Rhythm

Essay by   •  April 6, 2017  •  Essay  •  2,019 Words (9 Pages)  •  1,939 Views

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Maria Fadeeva

Professor Tabrizi

ENGWR 101

March 12 2017

Chained to the Rhythm

          “Turn it up, it’s your favorite song” (Perry 16). Yes, it is actually one of the most popular songs at this time, not because of its potential meaning, but because of the beat. Then, the news started talking and writing that Katy Perry actually had a political meaning to it. Especially, since her listeners are used to Perry’s sweet catchy songs, but this time she went all out with a message to society. If people start listening to it and actually look up the lyrics, it all will make sense. Lately, Katy Perry has been engaging in politics more and more, she has been a big supporter of Hillary Clinton. Few months later Perry released this song “Chained to the Rhythm”, which has a hidden meaning of an American dream and her disagreement with the new president’s victory.  In addition, the video has some explanation and meaning to the lyrics. Katy Perry made this song to be the first pop song about “fake news” and how people just eat the news and keep on ignoring everything. Another thing is that Katy Perry hired Skip Marley to sing a little part of the song, which I believe, has a meaning too. In my opinion, the lyrics in the song “Chained to the Rhythm” has a political purpose, serious tone and message, which will find its own audience.

                  Katy Perry has been known for catchy “playful” pop songs, followed by her magical videos, wearing bright costumes and it feels as a cartoon or a magical play. Perry has a lot of fans, who are used to just listen to “light” pop. However, this time, Katy released a “purposeful or meaningful pop” song, that has a hidden message behind the lyrics and most likely gained even more fans and a bigger audience started listening to the song. Since America was divided into two parts of Clinton and Trump, Perry gained new fans, who support Clinton and her message to the audience. Also, I believe some of the messages in the song she was referring to her colleagues, the celebrities. “Are we crazy? Living our lives through a lens” (Perry 1) may be referring to camera lenses and how people live through the cameras, by taking selfies. In addition, for celebrities, who cannot escape “the lens” life, where any step they take or anywhere they go is followed by a camera man. I believe the song will be interesting for not only young adults, but for older group of people too. Also, Hillary Clinton’s supporters would listen to this song, who weren’t happy about Donald Trump’s winning the presidential position, as Perry mentions in the line “Thought we could do better than that, I hope we can”. (Perry 34) This line pretty much means that America could have found a better candidate for a president.

             The song has a purpose of sending a message to people, to make them realize, that people live in a “bubble” and they all follow each other and don’t have their own opinion. As it says in the line “Break down the walls to connect, inspire” (Perry 58), means to stop ignoring what is going on in the world and make a change. For instance, “so comfortable, we’re living in a bubble, bubble, so comfortable, we cannot see the trouble, trouble” (Perry 5) refer to people that it’s easier living in their own “bubble”; to follow their friends and coworkers; therefore, they never challenge their assumptions or express their opinion. The chorus shows that we all “think we’re free” (Perry 20) but are, in fact, “stumbling around like a wasted zombie, yeah.” People use social media all the time now and live in the world of Instagram and Snapchat. Society do not see anything in the world, except for their phone screens. In the line “Yeah, we think we’re free” (Perry 20), in reality people depend on their social media so much, they don’t see the world around. Another clue to the message would be in the line “Dance, dance, dance to the distortion” (Perry 17), showing that media distortion is pretty big in United States. Basically, news provides us with lies and inaccuracy and people are lulled into a false sense of security.

         The purpose of this song is to show people, that we all are living in our own “bubble” and we don’t want to change anything. The line “We’re all chained to the rhythm” (Perry 22) means that people are too happy to maintain the same status quo in our lives. People just live their lives the same way without any changes. In the line “Are we tone deaf? Keep sweeping it under the mat” (Perry 32-33) explains that society do not want to do anything about what is going on with their lives, and they keep sweeping it under the mat means that they keep ignoring it. Once again, back to the line “So comfortable, we’re living in a bubble, bubble” (Perry 5) Katy Perry expressed how people live in bubbles where every person shares the same opinion. A lot of time, our society don’t really care about what is going on in the world. People don’t want to educate themselves and learn what is going on in their country, between other countries or even just around their city. They are used to just care about themselves and everything else don’t matter to them. That is why Katy Perry was trying to open people’s eyes to the reality; to make people think of what could be changed to improve the world we live in.

              The tone of this song is happy, yet serious and open-minded and even sad at some point. First, what makes this song sound happy is the beat itself, it is kind of a dance song and the lyrics does not sound depressing or anything. The part where Skip Marley sings actually sound very motivational as if he was about to change the world. The whole Marley’s part is about people who are higher in the position of us, the politics who “greed over the people”. However, “They woke up, they woke up the lions” (Perry 65) talks about people changing everything as if they started the riot, which actually happened, when thousands of people went to protest against Donald Trump becoming a president of the United States. People did not want to see him as their president and did not want to listen to what has to offer. Also “they woke up the lions” (Perry 65) might refer to Marley’s new single “Lions”, where he rebelled against Donald Trump and his Muslim ban. The “lions” are anyone who is willing to stand up for freedom and equality. Therefore, people may encourage other people to break the bubble and show the world what they think and that they care. Also, the last three lines “It goes on, and on, and on” (Perry 74-76) meant that nothing is changing because we are “so comfortable living in our bubbles” (Perry 5). These three lines make the song sound sad, that the Katy’s message might sound powerful and encouraging, in reality, it won’t change anything.

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