Pull out the pastels and bedazzler, because a new Katy Perry era is upon us, and it doesn’t include smurf-blue hair or leopard-print bikini tops with grass skirts. Perry’s new single “Chained to the Rhythm” debuted at midnight on iHeartRadio this morning (February 10), setting the tone for wherever her new album (title and release date TBA) brings us. And from the sound of “Chained to the Rhythm,” this is uncharted territory for Perry — for better or for worse.
Following suit with Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj’s collab “Side To Side,” the song’s beats carry reggae undertones, which are reinforced by a quick verse from Skip Marley. The perfect pop formula is there — the tune was penned by Sia and produced by Max Martin — but still, the tracks lags on for four minutes instead of busting at the seams like her usual bubblegum pop. While bemoaning the monotony of everyday life in the lyrics, going so far as using the phrase “wasted zombie” unironically, “Chained to the Rhythm” becomes monotonous itself.
If peak Perry was the audacity of “I Kissed a Girl” and the tongue-in-cheek humor of “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.),” then “Chained to the Rhythm” is Perry drained of all her bite and wit.
Earlier this week, Perry’s marketing team scattered giant disco balls all over the globe, which fans could use to plug their headphones into for an exclusive preview of the song before its official debut, but the leaks were few and the quality was low. Skip the snippets on twitter and have a listen, and get ready to hear the song this Sunday when Perry performs live at the Grammys in Los Angeles.