Chained explained: Creative lessons from “Chained to the Rhythm”


Got some new hit songs on repeat these days?

As a musician, I love listening to popular singles over and over again.

Especially if it’s got a catchy melody. I’m a sucker for melodies.

Maybe it’s because I don’t always hear the correct lyrics the first listen.
Maybe it’s because a catchy melody sounds like nothing else.

Have you ever heard a song where the lyrics get you more than the melody?

Katy Perry’s new hit track “Chained to the Rhythm”, featuring Skip Marley,  is one of them. Shout out to the songwriters: Katy Perry, Max Martin, Sia Furler, Ali Payami and Skip Marley.

The melody is singable, but isn’t as easy to remember as some of her other hits, like “Firework”, “Teenage Dream”, “Dark Horse” or “Roar”.

In this case, it isn’t about the melody. It’s about the song’s statement. It’s about the lyrics.

Here’ s four ways the lyrics can grab you and in doing so, inspire us all to take action.

1. The lyrics reflect what could be argued happens in a society ruled by the privileged. When you’re “living in a bubble” of privileged bliss, you “cannot see the trouble”—how those who don’t benefit from that privilege are impacted.

2. The lyrics speak of society’s addiction to comfort and routine. It’s what we know. It’s what we like. It’s perfect. A utopia. Keep running on the hamster wheel, boys and girls.

3. The lyrics state that living in this type of world allows us to “think we’re free”. “We think we’re free”? To do what? Keep up the same old routine?

As creatives and as people, we’re free to grow. To explore new creative possibilities.

So take a deep breath, spread your wings and try some new creative things.


4. Get out of the bubble. Like in many of her past inspirational anthems, Katy Perry challenges all of us to break away from a comfortable routine so we can see the trouble—so we can see how the other side sees an issue.

Time is ticking for the empire.

And there’s a creative lesson in this, no matter what type of artist you are whether you’re a writer, songwriter, musician, visual artist or actor:

Make real art.

Make something that reflects what people are going through. Whether it’s a response to an issue, standing up for a social cause, or even everyday feel-good anthems.

Make something that resonates with people.

Make something that while entertaining people, heals people and inspires people to be better, do better and create a better world.

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