Katy Perry Takes a Ride in the Eye-Popping “Chained to the Rhythm” Music Video

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Katy Perry Takes a Ride in the Eye-Popping “Chained to the Rhythm” Music Video

Rony Alwin

If the political underpinnings of Katy Perry's new single, “Chained to the Rhythm,” were too subtle for some, she made sure to put a fine point on her message at last week's Grammy Awards, concluding her impressively choreographed debut performance of the song with a projection of the preamble of the United States Constitution. The new music video for the track is notably less pointed, offered up with more than a spoonful of the sugary, colorful imagery we've come to expect from Perry.

Helmed by Mathew Cullen (director of Perry’s similarly vibrant “California Gurls” and “Dark Horse” clips and co-founder, along with Guillermo del Toro, of design studio Mirada), the video takes place at Oblivia, the utopian amusement park previously revealed in a teaser narrated by George Takei. Guests of the futuristic park march like “zombies” in synchronized hours-long lines to board rides—seemingly inspired by the 2011 short film The Centrifuge Brain Project—called the Great American Dream Drop and the Wheel, a giant hamster wheel ironically dubbed “the greatest ride in the universe.”

As is often the case in imaginings that romanticize the innocence of a recent American past, the future in “Chained to the Rhythm” is decidedly vintage, with guests dressed in early-1960s fashions. Curious cat Katy, of course, is quick to lose her state-sanctioned purity when the pink-haired singer pricks her finger on the thorn of a rose. Later, when she removes her 3D glasses during a film presentation, Skip Marley walks off the screen to personally deliver his subversive message to her and the spell is inexplicably lifted.

Though its filled with all of the tongue-in-cheek eye candy one might expect from a Perry video, as well as blink-and-you’ll-miss-them touches like a black couple being flung over a fence with the words “Safe Trip Home” painted on it, “Chained to the Rhythm” doesn’t take its premise—or her character’s awakening—to their logical conclusions: Perry doesn’t televise the revolution or even try very hard to awaken the other so-called zombies, nor is Oblivia figuratively or literally imploded from within. Perhaps a sequel is in order?

Watch the video below:

Perry’s as-yet-untitled new album, her first since 2013’s Prism, is due out later this year on Capitol Records.