By Josh Schonfeld
Pop diva Katy Perry is back with her latest video for “Chained to the Rhythm,” a discopop track with subtle hints of a social commentary that proves she’s more than just your everyday pop tart. While the song itself is a step in the right direction both melodically and lyrically, the same cannot be said for the video. The lyrics themselves are fairly benign with mere whispers of politics that can easily be disregarded when listening, but the video is an obvious attempt to “say something.”
The issue with the video is that it is too over-the-top. Sure, this is Katy Perry and she’s known for her campy videos and outfits, but there comes a point where camp and cheese dilutes the message. The film is set in a retro future where people dressed in 60s garb go to a theme park named “Oblivia” to forget about the world around them. All they care about are likes, retweets and selfies while walking around like “wasted zombies” to wait in line for rides that have them soaring across the sky out of the park or running on a giant hamster wheel.
These scenes are clear metaphors for the superficiality of our society, Trump’s immigration policy, and the exploitation of the poor by the wealthy 1%. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with that message. In fact, I agree with all of them, but is Katy Perry the one that should be trying to say these things? This is the same singer who sang “Ur So Gay,” “I Kissed a Girl,” and “Peacock.” It would be as if some reality TV star decided they wanted to be president (oh wait…).
Politics aside, the overall video is an overly-campy bore set to an otherwise incredible song. Perry’s cotton candy hair has seen better days and her final outfit looks like it’s Mylar and tinfoil folded together with clear plastic placed on top of it for “protection.” It’s all very Hunger Games and ends up looking “been there, done that.” Word of advice: subtlety is your friend.