The new single isn't the feel-good dance anthem you might have expected from the sneak peeks. Though it offers plenty of beats per minute, “Chained to the Rhythm” digs into the numbness and ennui that come from a life spent chasing shallow material pleasure. “So comfortable, we're living in a bubble / So comfortable we cannot see the trouble,” she sings. “Aren't you lonely up there in utopia?”
A guest verse from Skip Marley even posits that the days of America's “rose-colored glasses” are numbered: “Time is ticking for the empire.”
These are heavy themes for a four-minute disco track to tackle, but Perry takes them on with poise and sharp irony. She's even put out a lyric video (starring a spoiled hamster) so no one can miss what she's singing about.