Katy Perry’s new single “Chained to the Rhythm” is a 21st-century disco bop, but as she reminded us through her performance at the 2017 Grammys, it also has a political streak — and she didn’t shy away from expressing as much on stage.
The singer took the stage doing her best “Mackenzie Davis in Halt and Catch Fire” cosplay in a New Wave style white tux and bleached blonde bob, but also wearing a prominent armband. The sparkling red lettering read “PERSIST,” no doubt in reference to the “nevertheless, she persisted” admonition that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell issued to Sen. Elizabeth Warren earlier in the week, when justifying the Senate’s vote to bar Warren from speaking further on Jeff Sessions’s confirmation hearing for attorney general. The phrase “she persisted” almost immediately became a feminist rallying cry.
But if you thought that Perry’s accessory might just be a defiant sidenote for the performance, take a listen to the song’s lyrics — specifically the hook of “so comfortable, we’re living in a bubble, bubble / so comfortable, we cannot see the trouble, trouble.” Later, the song asks:
Are we tone deaf?
Keep sweeping it under the mat…
Thought we could do better than that,
I hope we can.
Then, to really drive the point home, Perry and her collaborator Skip Marley ended the performance holding hands in front of a projection of the Constitution.
It’s not totally surprising that Perry underscored the political points of her song with her Grammys performance: She was such an out-and-loud supporter of Hillary Clinton throughout Clinton’s presidential campaign that she and boyfriend Orlando Bloom put on the most committed (and pretty creepy) Clinton couples costume probably ever.
And okay, maybe the Constitution has nothing specific to do with “Chained to the Rhythm” itself, but we have a feeling that Perry — who said after the election that Clinton “lit a fire inside of me that burns brighter and brighter every day” — might’ve found a way to work it in, no matter what she was singing.