Liberal Katy Perry unwittingly sings a conservative message
Watching the Grammy Awards show a few weeks ago, I enjoyed the performance by Katy Perry singing her new hit song, "Chained to the Rhythm." Although I didn't recognize her at first in her blonde wig and rose-colored glasses (a nod to a line in the song), I thought it was catchy and probably the most entertaining and creative performance of the night.
However, there was one big problem. Her lyrics and the special effects deployed at the end of the performance reflected a conservative message – that we're living in bondage in a materialistic age, where the ruling worldview is one of self-centered myopia and the splintering of the soul brought on by modernism's bureaucratic emphasis on organization and specialization.
She also condemns the comforts brought on by the modern age and how they have led to hedonism, addiction, and greed ("Up there in utopia / Where nothing will ever be enough"). Here is the opening verse:
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
Aren't you lonely
Up there in utopia
Where nothing will ever be enough?
In the second verse, she elaborates more on how we've become slaves within a culture of entertainment and pleasure, which have become its highest values, while being oblivious to the deleterious effects it engenders.
Here is the video of her performance on the Grammy's.
Conservatism has long denounced utopianism, whether manifested as liberalism or Marxism. They're also all gnostic creeds, where man has the arrogance to think he's the creator of his own salvation as opposed to the only salvation found through Christ and his resurrection.
In a blog called The Pop Song Professor, Clifford Stumme had this to say in his analysis of Perry's song:
Katy Perry reminds us all, 'Yeah, we think we’re free,' and slips back into irony with 'Drink, this one is on me.' She’s telling us that we’re only free if we think through things, and she’s being ironic by being the one taking that freedom through the very words she’s using to tell us about all of this. She leaves her audience 'chained to the rhythm.' ...
In the second verse of 'Chained to the Rhythm,' Katy Perry asks, 'Are we tone deaf?' While this is another subtle acknowledgment of the fact that she’s making music right now, she’s also wondering whether we’re unable to notice injustice or danger on our own.
Finally, toward the end of her performance, the white picket fences she's been dancing around while singing break apart in a kaleidoscope of twirling pieces, reflecting the fragmentation and brokenness of the individual brought on by the conflict between the desire for pleasure and the need for discipline in modern times as well as specialization demanded by society.
The final irony of both her lyrics and performance of "Chained to the Rhythm" is that Katy Perry herself seems to be unaware (she also wears an armband with the word "RESIST" on it) that she's projecting a conservative message: freedom and the order of being require a vertical vision toward a unifying and transcendental God, not the enslaving and fracturing horizontal vision of materialistic, pleasure-seeking liberalism.