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CTTR
Katy Perry (feat. Skip Marley)
Written by Katy Perry
Skip Marley
Sia Furler
Max Martin
Ali Payami
Produced by Max Martin
Ali Payami
Background
vocals by
Katy Perry
Sia Furler
Skip Marley
Max Martin
Length 3:58
3:35 (Edit)
4:11 (Lil Yachty Remix)
from the album Witness-Logo
Singles "Chained to the Rhythm"
"Bon Appétit"
"Swish Swish"
"Save As Draft"

"Chained to the Rhythm" is the lead single from Katy Perry's fifth studio album, Witness. The song features guest appearance from Skip Marley, who also provided backing vocals and additional writing. The single was officially released February 10, 2017, receiving radio play through Apple Music's Beats 1 Station the night before. Perry said the song represents political/mental liberation.

The song broke a Spotify record at the time for the most first day streams for a female artist in the United States with 3,062,293 streams.[1] The song had a major debut on Pop radio, having a first day audience impression of 27.735 million.[2]

Background and release

For her fifth studio album, Perry said she wanted to make "purposeful pop", which was implemented into the track "Chained to the Rhythm". Skip Marley told Billboard that he and Perry made the song together after she heard his track "Lions" and wanted to collaborate with him. After the two spoke in January 2017, he "delivered the message that I had to deliver" while recording the track, describing it as "one of unification and love".[3] Perry felt "kind of depressed" after Donald Trump was elected President of the United States in November 2016, and "definitely didn't want to write a club banger" when the world was "on fire". She subsequently "channelled her frustration into new music" and also stated that creating the track "was a nice exercise of like writing a song that at first listen is a really fun song, but I guess the more you dive into it, it has a different sub-text".[4]

The start of the new album era began on February 6, 2017 with an Instagram post made by Perry where she posted an image of her sporting bleached-blond hair in a pink wardrobe against a baby blue background, captioned "New life who dis".[5] This was followed by an official announcement from the Recording Academy that Katy Perry will be performing at the 2017 Grammy Awards. [6] On February 7, 2017 billboards were placed around the United States revealing the release date of the song.[7] The official single artwork was revealed through Perry's twitter an hour before the song's release. It was designed by Frederik Heyman.[8] After the much created buzz, the song was finally released on February 10, 2017. [9]

Promotion

Perry teased the song with a short clip which featured her dragging a chained disco-ball around her ankle while she wore high-heels.[10] 60cm disco balls will be placed in key locations around the world, where people will be able to listen to 90 seconds of the song.[11][12] Twitter stickers based off the single's aesthetics were released for a limited time to celebrate the release.[13] The song recieved "on the hour" radio play for its release from numerous radio stations, including all of iHeartRadio channels. Several remixes have been released to promote the track from various DJs and music producers. On March 22, 2017 American hip-hop recording artist Lil Yachty released a remix of the song on his official Soundcloud.[14] The remix was officially released to digital retailers on April 11, 2017.

Lyrics

[Verse 1: Katy Perry]
Are we crazy?
Living our lives through a lens
Trapped in our white-picket fence
Like ornaments
So comfortable, we live in a bubble, a bubble
So comfortable, we cannot see the trouble, the trouble
Aren't you lonely
Up there in utopia
Where nothing will ever be enough?
Happily numb
So comfortable, we live in a bubble, a bubble
So comfortable, we cannot see the trouble, the trouble

[Pre-Chorus: Katy Perry]
Aha, look so good
So put your rose-colored glasses on
And party on

[Chorus: Katy Perry]
Turn it up, it's your favorite song
Dance, dance, dance to the distortion
Come on, turn it up, keep it on repeat
Stumbling around like a wasted zombie
Yeah, we think we're free
Drink, this one is on me
We're all chained to the rhythm
To the rhythm
To the rhythm
Turn it up, it's your favorite song
Dance, dance, dance to the distortion
Come on, turn it up, keep it on repeat
Stumbling around like a wasted zombie
Yeah, we think we're free
Drink, this one is on me
We're all chained to the rhythm
To the rhythm
To the rhythm

[Verse 2: Katy Perry]
Are we tone deaf?
Keep sweeping it under the mat
Thought we can do better than that
I hope we can
So comfortable, we live in a bubble, a bubble
So comfortable, we can’t see the trouble, the trouble

[Pre-Chorus: Katy Perry]
Aha, look so good (so good)
So put your rose-colored glasses on
And party on

[Chorus: Katy Perry]
Turn it up, it's your favorite song
Dance, dance, dance to the distortion
Come on, turn it up, keep it on repeat
Stumbling around like a wasted zombie
Yeah, we think we're free
Drink, this one is on me
We're all chained to the rhythm
To the rhythm
To the rhythm
Turn it up, it's your favorite song
Dance, dance, dance to the distortion
Come on, turn it up, keep it on repeat
Stumbling around like a wasted zombie
Yeah, we think we're free
Drink, this one is on me
We're all chained to the rhythm
To the rhythm
To the rhythm

[Bridge: Skip Marley]
It is my desire
Break down the walls to connect, inspire
Ay, up in your high place, liars
Time is ticking for the empire
The truth they feed is feeble
As so many times before
They greed over the people
They stumbling and fumbling
And we're about to riot
They woke up, they woke up the lions
(Woo!)

[Chorus: Katy Perry]
Turn it up, it's your favorite song
Dance, dance, dance to the distortion
Come on, turn it up, keep it on repeat
Stumbling around like a wasted zombie
Yeah, we think we're free
Drink, this one is on me
We're all chained to the rhythm
To the rhythm
To the rhythm

[Outro: Katy Perry]
Turn it up
Turn it up
It goes on, and on, and on
It goes on, and on, and on
It goes on, and on, and on
'Cause we're all chained to the rhythm

Critical reception

In a positive review, E!'s Samantha Scnurr wrote the song "sounds like a soon-to-be party classic with its easy pulse and disco elements, layered underneath the upbeat veneer, Perry delivers a strong message about awareness and activism—and, according to her, how it's lacking." NME reviewer Jordan Bassett praised the track as "like Daft Punk, but fun", and felt the production was "crisp-as-fuck". Writing for Vulture.com, Karen Brill was less favorable, questioning if the track was "pretty much just dance, without much subtext?" Another positive review came from Jason Lipshutz of Billboard, who felt that it amplified "Perry's new musical agenda at a time when she needed one" with its political themes. According to him, "the single is built around lyrics chastising us for being 'happily numb' and 'tone deaf,' and tries to gently puncture the bubble that we create when we drown out the world's issues."

Sal Cinquemani from Slant Magazine praised the song, writing that "a track with a hook that implores listeners to 'Come on, turn it up/Keep it on repeat' had better deliver the goods, and this one most definitely does." Josh Duboff from Vanity Fair considered the song "a departure from straight-forward firework metaphors and nostalgic teenage romance anthems." He noted, "the idea of the song is that we are chained to the 'rhythm,' perhaps not questioning our daily lives and existences as much as we should be." MTV's Anne T. Donahue have a positive review for the song, calling it a "hardly new terrain for Perry." She also described it as a "totally fine song that's easy to listen and dance to, and one that does justice to her career in pop."

Music video

Katy Perry - Chained To The Rhythm (Official) ft04:01

Katy Perry - Chained To The Rhythm (Official) ft. Skip Marley

The official video.

Katy Perry - Chained To The Rhythm (Lyric Video) ft03:56

Katy Perry - Chained To The Rhythm (Lyric Video) ft. Skip Marley

Lyric video.

Lyric video

Aya Tanimura directed a lyric video for the song, which was released on February 10, 2017. It features a hamster, named Mr. Parsons, inside a doll house, and a pair of hands is seen preparing miniature food for the hamster. Analyzing the video, Erin Jansen from  wrote "we're shown footage of a hamster running tirelessly on a hamster wheel, a visualization of the popular idiom meaning to perform activities repetitiously without progress." She also stated "Paired with Perry's lyrics, there's definitely a message to be absorbed."

Official video

The official video was teased through Kathy Beth Terry's parody account, a fictional character created by Katy Perry to promote "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)". The tweet, which is the first tweet from the account since 2012, read "ZOMG you guys…let’s go to Oblivia on Tuesday! My braces finally just came off and I want some funnel cake!!!"[15]. Perry quoted the tweet saying admission is free.

This video was officially released on February 21, 2017. The video was released through Perry's Vevo, with Mathew Cullen as director. The video was mostly shot at the Six Flags Magic Mountain theme park in Valencia, Santa Clarita, California - where Perry rides a stylised version of the Full Throttle roller coaster.

Synopsis and critical analysis

It was set in a futuristic theme park called "Oblivia".[16] Mark Savage from BBC noted the theme is a metaphor for the infinite distractions of modern society.[17] According to the Gil Kaufman from Billboard the video has "a number of not-so-subtle hints at Perry's feelings about the current political climate in the nation."[18]

The video opens with Perry walking though the gates of the happiest place on Earth, where cotton candy is served in portions the size of giant umbrellas. In the video the guests are all taking selfies, eating child-sized sticks of candy floss and crowding around a sign for "the greatest ride in the universe". Perry is awestruck, just like the other guests. But she pricks her finger on a rose and temporarily she snap out of the "paradise". Perry goes on a roller coaster. Mark also noted that the ride she's on is "The New Revolution", the world's first vertical loop coaster, which featured in the final scenes of cult comedy National Lampoon's Vacation.[19] The scene changes to other ride called "The Great American Dream Drop," in which a loving couple snuggle into a tiny house that gets swung around in the air and then violently plunged toward the ground. The next scene takes place at a petrol station, where Katy is whisked off her feet by men in sailor costumes, the scene shows another attractions as flaming glasses of blue "Inferno H2O," a tainted liquid that makes patrons belch fire, according to the editor Mark Savage, the liquid name is "a reference to the West's dependency on oil; but also to the looming crisis over the world's water supply, which some experts believe could lead to a war in Asia. Other attraction is a hamster wheel that is impossible to keep up with and plenty of arrows pointing the pliant parkgoers in the right direction. Near the end, she sits down to watch a 3D movie, Perry notices a disturbing homogeneity amongst her fellow park guests who are. Perry is swept up in a giant dance number after Skip Marley jumps out of a 3D movie to rap his cameo, after wake up, Perry sings a panic-stricken final chorus, the lyric "stumbling around like a wasted zombie" writ large, with Katy trapped in the middle of a mindless dance routine. The wake up call leads to the final where Perry's worried face staring into the camera in a moment of fear-filled awakening.

Digital release

Worldwide

CTTR
LABEL Capitol
RELEASED February 10, 2017
FORMAT Digital
Cover photo by
Frederik Heyman


Design by
Frederik Heyman

     Made in Digital

NoBarcode
TRACK LIST LENGTH
1. Chained to the Rhythm (feat. Skip Marly) 3:57

Official remix

CTTRHCRemix
LABEL Capitol
RELEASED March 17, 2017
FORMAT Digital
Cover photo by
Frederik Heyman


Design by
Frederik Heyman

     Made in Digital

NoBarcode
TRACK LIST LENGTH
1. Chained to the Rhythm (Hot Chip Remix) [feat. Skip Marly] 5:42
CTTROHRemix
LABEL Capitol
RELEASED March 24, 2017
FORMAT Digital
Cover photo by
Frederik Heyman


Design by
Frederik Heyman

     Made in Digital

NoBarcode
TRACK LIST LENGTH
1. Chained to the Rhythm (Oliver Heldins Remix) 4:36

This remix was released with both explicit and clean versions.

Lil Yachty Remix
LABEL Capitol
RELEASED April 11, 2017
FORMAT Digital
Cover photo by
Frederik Heyman


Design by
Frederik Heyman

     Made in Digital

NoBarcode
TRACK LIST LENGTH
1. Chained to the Rhythm (feat. Lil Yatchy) 4:11

Physical release

Europe

CTTR-PromoCD
LABEL Capitol
RELEASED March 24, 2017
FORMAT CD
Cover photo by
Frederik Heyman


Design by
Frederik Heyman

     Made in E.U.

CTTR-Barcode
TRACK LIST LENGTH
1. Chained to the Rhythm (feat. Skip Marly) 3:57
2. Chained to the Rhythm (Instrumental) 3:58

Promotional releases

France

CTTR
LABEL Capitol
RELEASED February 2017
FORMAT CDr, Promo
Cover photo by
Frederik Heyman


Design by
Frederik Heyman

     Made in France

NoBarcode
TRACK LIST LENGTH
1. Chained to the Rhythm (feat. Skip Marly) 3:57
2. Chained to the Rhythm (Edit) 3:35

France & Italy

CTTR
LABEL Capitol
RELEASED February 2017
FORMAT CDr, Promo
Cover photo by
Frederik Heyman


Design by
Frederik Heyman

     Made in France

NoBarcode
TRACK LIST LENGTH
1. Chained to the Rhythm (feat. Skip Marly) 3:57

United States

On March 20, 2017 a promotional vinyl was distributed by Capitol Records that features the track once on both sides. The vinyl is clear with blue and pink paint splatter and is housed in a transparent slip. Perry had first shown the promotional vinyl in her Instagram story. The vinyl was distributed for promotional means to DJ's, nightclubs, sweepstakes, contests, sometimes along with a exclusive poster for the single.

CTTR-Vinyl
LABEL Capitol
RELEASED March 20, 2017
FORMAT Clear vinyl, Promo
Cover photo by
N/A


Design by
N/A

     Made in United States

NoBarcode
TRACK LIST (SIDE A) LENGTH
1. Chained to the Rhythm (feat. Skip Marly) 3:57
TRACK LIST (SIDE B) LENGTH
1. Chained to the Rhythm (feat. Skip Marly) 3:57

Gallery

Promotional photo shoot for the single by New York based photographer, Olivia Bee.

References

  1. http://ew.com/music/2017/02/11/katy-perry-chained-to-the-rhythm-spotify-streaming-record/
  2. http://www.idolator.com/7657319/katy-perry-chained-rhythm-photo-shoot-spotify-record
  3. http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/magazine-feature/7709265/skip-marley-katy-perry-legacy
  4. https://amp.ibtimes.co.uk/chained-rhythm-helped-katy-perrys-depression-after-donald-trump-won-us-election-1607925
  5. https://www.instagram.com/p/BQMb2LCAURu/?taken-by=katyperry&hl=en
  6. https://twitter.com/katyperry/status/828782200522887168
  7. https://twitter.com/katyperry/status/829024081370451968
  8. https://twitter.com/katyperry/status/829903451031113729
  9. https://www.earnthenecklace.com/katy-perry-unleashes-catchy-new-song-chained-to-the-rhythm-katy-perry-chains-you-to-the-disco-ball-with-chained-to-the-rhythm/
  10. https://twitter.com/katyperry/status/829103308681777152
  11. https://twitter.com/katyperry/status/829344709801697281
  12. https://twitter.com/katyperry/status/829346621259288578
  13. https://twitter.com/katyperry/status/829366404629483520
  14. http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/7735634/lil-yachty-katy-perry-chained-to-the-rhythm-remix
  15. https://twitter.com/KathyBethTerry/status/832771161645731840
  16. http://www.nme.com/news/music/watch-katy-perrys-cgi-filled-chained-to-the-rhythm-video-1984437
  17. http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-39042467
  18. http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/pop/7694364/katy-perry-trippy-futuristic-chained-to-the-rhythm-video-watch
  19. http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-39042467
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