The True Meaning Behind Katy Perry's "Peacock"
You might be asking yourself what it is about this particular music that would have prompted a response from me. Every once in a while, I will hear a song on the radio that urges me to ask more. What do the lyrics mean? Much like “Cherry Pie” by Warrant or “Stupid Ho” by Nicki Minaj, some songs are just too subtle to understand their true meaning. So, we must take the time for a closer analysis.
So, what is it about the peacock? This animal, famous for its vibrant plumage and oversized tail feathers is often associated with elaborate displays. On the surface, this might suggest that she is referencing drama and the art of costuming. However, the peacock is also associated with Hera of Greek mythology and Karthikeya in Hindu mythology. This implies that perhaps Katy Perry is invoking early storytelling in order to develop a commentary on religion and the vocal tradition. Can the myths of today still be trusted with iconography, like the peacock, being pulled in countless different directions? Is the fabric of our spirituality all a lie, or do the links suggest an underlying unity?
One thing we know about Katy Perry is her use of repetition in her songs. This technique is used to emphasize important points and help the listener remember them (an invaluable teaching style). The chorus of this song goes “I wanna see your peacock, cock, cock, your peacock, cock.” This repetition can only mean that she is deliberately calling a rooster to mind.
Roosters also have religious significance, though this time it comes from the Persians, who regard the rooster as a sacred animal. This may also be a commentary on health and wellness in our modern society. This animal, that was once sacred (or served a valuable role on a farm), is now little more than a deep fried bucket to the masses. The repetition of the word ‘cock’ in her song suggests she is concerned, not only for animal rights, but the current health situation in the United States.
But, we will need to examine a few more of the lyrics before we can declare any sort of meaning here. “Come on baby, let me see, what you’re hidin’ underneath.” This line reinforces the hidden sins below the surface and Katy’s desire to root out injustice. “Are you brave enough to let me see your peacock? What you're waiting for, it's time for you to show it off. Don't be a shy kinda guy I'll bet it's beautiful.” This string of lyrics takes a slightly different turn, suggesting that the secrets we keep hidden are part of who we are. Being ingrained in the human experience, we can regard these insecurities as beautiful. The bravery to acknowledge such shortcomings is fundamental to a happy existence.
“You got the finest architecture. End of the rainbow looking treasure. Such a sight to see, and it's all for me.” In some of the last lines of the song we see yet more imagery. Architecture feels not only like a reference to our ‘nine to five’ lifestyles, but also hearkens back to the earlier peacock, since human architecture is a futile attempt to design what nature already does so well. The rainbow only reinforces this as it is regarded as one of the most beautiful natural phenomenon, one that humans can’t hope to improve upon. By saying ‘it’s all for me’, Katy is opening her arms to nature and humanity’s imperfections.
So, what we’ve learned from this is that ‘Peacock’ is actually a very complicated song. From animal rights to human futility, there is enough imagery to dig much deeper than I could hope to with this article. So, I salute Katy Perry for enriching the minds of our young girls with a song that is definitely, absolutely, unquestionably not about shlongs.