Rise – Katy Perry Analysis

On the 14th July Katy Perry released a new single called ‘Rise’ to be the Olympic anthem. It was a long time coming for KatyCats, we have waited 3 years for new music (apart from the H&M Christmas song).

I am definitely biased but I love the new song. On the first few listens I did think it was perhaps too slow to be an Olympic anthem but after a few more listens, the pace is perfect to convey the really powerful feel to the song, any faster and it would not have had the same feel.

The video

The music video was released on the 4th August, watch it below:

Usually Katy Perry’s music videos have a pretty obvious message and tell beautiful little stories (such as The One That Got Away, Last Friday Night, Wide Awake) but with this one, you have to dig deeper – which I love. On the first watch you may think it is just a video of her walking around with a parachute, which technically it is. But, I really like the fact that you have to analyse this in some detail to find out the meaning of it all and why she chose a parachute, her location and the simple ongoing theme of this.


  • Hair –  I love her hair in this video, I want it so bad! She has kept it black, the colour she is known for, she is actually naturally blonde but she has it black most of the time. It is styled to look unruly with dreadlocks throughout. This is probably to make it look as if she has been ‘roughing it’ in the Grand Canyon for a while. However, they have added some hair jewelery, little rings hanging from some of the dreads. This is a rising trend with many celebrities and I think it is pretty and decorative.


  • Make-up She is more tan in this video than she usually is, probably to also show she has been in the sun for a long time struggling. I think they were going for the  more natural look with a brown shadow eye but I do not think this was achieved. Unfortunately I think she is wearing a bit too much makeup and her highlighting is a bit too obvious in this video considering she is meant to look like she is stranded. Perhaps they could have smudged her black eyeliner more at certain parts to show more of a struggle, however it stays perfect throughout.


  • Outfit She is wearing a tight fitting parachute jumpsuit. I like the outfit as it has tan areas which kind of look like it is ripped, which fits well with the overall theme. There is one point when I thought she had her bum out but it was just the choice of colour used in that area! I like the simplicity of the outfit and that it does not distract too much attention away from the overall theme.

The Parachute is a major part of the video:

  • Parts of life that hold you back – I interpret the parachute to represent her struggles and the things throughout her life that have held her back and she has had to fight against. For example, we know that after Russel Brand, Katy Perry went through a very dark phase and we know from By The Grace Of God, she had many suicidal thoughts at the time but managed to fight against them and come out the other end on top.


  • Makes everyday tasks more difficult – The parachute is larger than her and creates difficulties for her walking through a very hot grand canyon. Walking this is already dangerous but this added extra is creating more difficulties for her. I like to think about the parachute as depression as I can relate to it being something heavy dragging you back.


  • Ups and downs – When there is a gust of wind, she is pulled back. When there is something new and unexpectedly sudden happens in life, it can take you a step back within your progress. But Katy still fights on and struggles against it showing that when you are dragged backwards you can always keep on going forwards even if it is very difficult.


  •  The choice of life or death – She is hanging limply off the edge of a cliff and when the line, ‘I must stay conscious’ is sung she abruptly looks up to fight against it. Looking down she sees a fall and either death or injury. She has a choice to give in and fall or to struggle back up. This, for me, represents when you have the choice of harming yourself which is the easier option (just to fall) or fighting against it. She chooses to fight.


  • Further problems and dark times – There is very rarely just one dark time, once you get back on top there can be further problems that take you to the edge, it is all a part of life. In the video, it starts to rain, which could represent small problems which build up and get overwhelming. Katy is crying and clinging on to her parachute through the rain which could portray depression giving her a sense of comfort. This sounds unusual but I know for me it can be falsely comforting when I have small problems to cry and hold on to the sadness I have. This sense of overpowering problems  may be portrayed when Katy almost drowns in a lake or large body of water (perhaps made up of the small problems portrayed as raindrops). Again, she is faced with the easy option of giving in and drowning or fighting to get back up to the top. She tries but is blocked by the parachute but she doesn’t give in and eventually struggles free to breathe again.


  • Finding happiness – By the end of the video she lifts up with the parachute and sees the beautiful sights below, she is smiling. This for me represents the last part of depression, you have got a hold on it and you are lifted up to happiness. When the parachute drops to ground at the end I interpret this as it finally falling away and you losing your depression for good and being able to be happy without it pulling you back.


The Lyrics

Lyrics                                                            Analysis

I won’t just survive                                   This is her showing that she will not just live with
Oh, you will see me thrive                      this pain but instead take full control.
Can’t write my story                                 She will not let sadness/depression/a certain person
I’m beyond the archetype                       shape her, she is an individual and different – as                                                                                  everyone is.

I won’t just conform                                This natural imagery highlights that it does effect her
No matter how you shake my core      badly but she is grounded and she is strong so no
‘Cause my roots—they run deep, oh matter what is thrown at her or tries to throw her off                                                                           balance she will still stand strong through anything.

Oh, ye of so little faith                            The ‘V’ sound gives the words a vicious edge, as if she 
Don’t doubt it, don’t doubt it               is giving herself determination against her problems.
Victory is in my veins
I know it, I know it                                   The words used here are very assertive, she knows
And I will not negotiate                          what she will or will not do. This makes her sound
I’ll fight it, I’ll fight it                             stronger and more powerful.
I will transform

When, when the fire’s at my feet again   This could link to Katy’s song, ‘Roar’ when she
And the vultures all start circling               ‘dances through the fire’. The fire could be
They’re whispering, “You’re out of time” something that hurts her or giving her a choice 
But still I rise                                                      to burn or put out the fire. It could also represent                                                                                 her being strong, with a burning desire to fight. This time the fire is back again and vultures are whispering to her. The fact they are whispering shows a viciousness, they want her to die so they can feast off her, as vultures do. These vultures could represent people in the industry or some other problem or illness that hangs around her, influencing her decisions.

This is no mistake, no accident            This could be relating to when someone thinks they
When you think the final nail is in      are at the end, there is nothing left and they want to
Think again                                                  give in. Possibly highlighting death with the ‘nail’
Don’t be surprised                                     relating to a coffin as once the final nail is in, there
I will still rise                                               is no getting out of the coffin. Katy sings to ‘think                                                                                again’, when you think there is nothing left to live for you are wrong and can reach happiness again. She is saying do not give up.

I must stay conscious                              She uses the word ‘must’ as if she has no choice but
Through the madness and chaos         to carry on even when everything gets overwhelming.
So I call on my angels                              The word conscious may relate to staying aware of the
They say                                                       things around her and her state, so that she can feel                                                                             when something bad is coming. Her angels may be her family members and friends, such as her sister, who can be there to support her through good and bad times.

(chorus to the end of the song)

Overall Conclusion

I really like this song and the powerful message it conveys. The music fits really well with the lyrics and the video complements it nicely with it’s hidden meanings and messages. You do need to watch and listen a few times to understand it.

Rating: 9/10




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