The new song is sonically similar to Perry’s pop sound and if the song comes on while you’re out shopping it may not be apparent that it is actually pretty philosophically deep. The lyrics describe a world in which people follow blindly the cultural waves and flows without much thought toward individual taste or thought. The idea is further augmented by the video, which is set in doll house and features an autonomous hand cooking and serving miniature food to a hamster.
Perry herself has acknowledged this new direction in her music in a tweet to one listener who said that she had “invented woke-pop as a genre,” instead preferred to use the term “Purposeful Pop.” It should come as little surprise that Perry is using her music to express a satirical message about the times. She was an avid supporter of Hilary Clinton during the presidential race, and is expressly anti-Trump.
Perry opens the song by appealing to her listeners to think deeper about their own comfortable lives:
Are we crazy?
Living our lives through a lens
Trapped in our white picket fence
So comfortable, we’re living in a bubble, bubble
So comfortable, we cannot see the trouble, trouble
And twists the title of the song from being about dancing to an energetic song into a description of mental bondage, comparing the listeners to wasted zombies:
Turn it up, keep it on repeat
Stumbling around like a wasted zombie, yeah
We think we’re free (Aha)
Drink, this one’s on me
We’re all chained to the rhythm
Although, we shouldn’t take any of these lyrics on face value. Instead we should understand that Perry is using these lyrics and the video to attack a particular kind of attitude that she observes in the culture. She seems to be saying that some people are content with simply going by on their day to day activities without stopping to see the “trouble” that is right in front of them. It’s a bubbly, incredibly catchy plea for some of her listeners to wake up.
Watch the hamster-filled video below.