Katy Perry is critiquing “the American dream.”
The video for her new hit “Chained to the Rhythm” dropped on Tuesday, and just like the song, it’s a cautionary tale about living in a bubble while ignoring all the trouble in the world.
The clip, directed by Matthew Cullen, finds Perry, wearing a futuristic outfit, visiting a theme park called “Oblivia,” which was actually filmed in January at Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, California.
At first, Perry is like every other patron, staring wide-eyed at all the attractions. When she goes to smell a rose, though, she pricks her finger on a thorn, drawing blood: a metaphor for things not being as “rosy” as they seem.
The rides all have an element of danger — roller-coaster cars fly off tracks, people are literally flung off of rides, miniature houses are dropped too quickly, a giant hamster wheel that people run on goes too fast — but nobody notices. Perry takes a seat with the others and dons 3-D glasses for an attraction that shows a typical 1950s-era family gathered together: Mom is ironing, dad’s reading the paper and the kids are playing. Suddenly, Skip Marley — the featured artist on the song — steps out of an old fashioned TV screen and helps the pop star experience an awakening.
Perry, 32, told Ryan Seacrest earlier this month at the Grammys that “Chained to the Rhythm” was “purposeful pop.” The longtime Hillary Clinton supporter, who wore a “persist” armband during her performance at the music awards show, added that her work evolved after she “woke up a little bit more, educated myself a little more.”
“I think it’s just a song that starts conversations and I think that’s what we need more than ever,” she said. “There’s so much divisiveness and people on one side or the other and I think we just need to listen to each other. I hope that that song does that.”