Pop Meets Politics: Katy Perry’s Wake Up Call For America

On February 10th, Katy Perry released her new song, “Chained to the Rhythm.” At first, you may think this is just another pop song with a good beat, but if you listen closely to the lyrics, you realize that Katy is using her platform to make a political statement.

The song begins by addressing the complacency and comfort in America and compares it to living in a bubble where nothing will ever be enough. When the chorus comes along, Katy uses the lyrics "dance to the distortion", "stumbling around like a wasted zombie", and "we think we're free". These lyrics reiterate her message of the conformity and complacency of Americans. Later in the song, Skip Marley, who is Bob Marley's son says, “The truth they feed is feeble, as so many times before. They greed over the people. They stumbling and fumbling, and we about to riot. They woke up, they woke up the lions.” This refers to the government’s greed and serves a call to arms for us all to stand up for our rights and the rights of others. The lyric video for the song depicts a hamster named Mr. Parsons, from the book 1984 by George Orwell. In the book, Mr. Parsons symbolizes the ideal citizen who doesn’t question his government or society. 

Katy was a vocal supporter of Hillary Clinton, and she is using this song as a wake-up call to the American people against the divisive and misguided policies of the Trump administration, and American society in general. On February 12th, Katy performed the song at the Grammy Awards wearing a white pantsuit with a "Persist" armband, and a Planned Parenthood pin on her lapel. Katy confirmed on Twitter that the word persist was in reference to Senator Mitch McConnell silencing Senator Elizabeth Warren after she read a letter from Coretta Scott King on the Senate floor, highlighting civil rights issues in Senator Jeff Sessions' past. McConnell told the media that Warren "was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted." If Katy’s attire during her performance wasn't enough to make you realize this was a statement, then the Constitution being projected onto the stage at the end definitely was.

Art has always been a way for people to express themselves and make their voices heard. Keep your eyes peeled for other artists to make similar statements over the next few years in response to our government and culture.