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Katy Perry gets political: Listen to her new song ‘Chained to the Rhythm’

Pop Music Critic

You know America’s in a troubling spot when even Katy Perry is singing about the illusion of freedom.

That’s the subject of “Chained to the Rhythm,” the once-carefree pop star’s new single, which appeared online Thursday night amid a series of Perry tweets and retweets about revolution, George Orwell’s “1984” and the need to “question everything.”

“Are we crazy? / Living our lives through a lens,” she sings, “Trapped in our white picket fence / Like ornaments.” The song goes on to point out how comfortable we are “living in a bubble” where we “dance to the distortion.”

Then Perry — whose Twitter bio now reads “Artist. Activist. Conscious.” — really drops the hammer: Turns out that distortion is leading each of us to stumble around “like a wasted zombie.”

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The initial sampling from Perry’s upcoming studio album (her follow-up to “Prism” from 2013), “Chained to the Rhythm” was co-produced by the singer’s old pal Max Martin and features a guest appearance by Skip Marley (a.k.a. Bob’s grandson), who announces in his verse that “time is ticking for the empire.”

Perry is scheduled to perform the song Sunday night at the Grammy Awards.

mikael.wood@latimes.com

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Twitter: @mikaelwood

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