Last weekend at the 54th annual Grammy Awards, 27-year-old diva Katy Perry debuted her new single, “Part of Me.”
Continuing her Diet Lady Gaga wardrobe choices, Perry squeezed herself into a gold and silver spandex suit she received courtesy of a pile of rejected Power Rangers costume designs that her assistant had to sell his soul to acquire. And in case we forgot that she played a principal role in the cinematic train wreck that was The Smurfs, Perry kindly wore the blue wig that was distributed at the film’s wrap party as a reminder. And, thus, the world was introduced to “Part of Me.”
Although a demo version of the track has been floating around the blogosphere for over a year, the official release of “Part of Me” is timed to the upcoming re-release of Perry’s 2010 record-breaking album, Teenage Dream. And in a stroke of marketing genius, the release of this defiant breakup anthem is also timed perfectly to the very public divorce Perry is currently going through with British comedian Russell Brand. Think Nick Lachey’s “What’s Left of Me” but with bigger boobs and more cotton candy.
In case you couldn’t tell, I’m not Perry’s biggest fan. I find her music to be everything from incredibly irritating to unoriginal to perpetuating terrible stereotypes to horrendously insensitive. Let us not forget that this is a woman who while married to a recovering alcoholic, put out a single about how much fun it is to black out on weekends. And then continued to show her support by releasing a remix of the same song to try and make even more money off of this concept.
Admittedly, I longed for “Part of Me” to be a disaster. I wanted it to be so bad that people would stop buying Perry’s records and she would just vanish from the charts and go back to Candyland to retire already. So imagine my disappointment upon first hearing the song and realizing that it’s the best one Perry has ever released.
On “Part of Me,” Perry trades in her signature mindless and sugarcoated fluff in favor of attitude and grit. Simply put, it’s the best Ashlee Simpson song that Ashlee Simpson never recorded. Listening to it, one might even be tricked into believing that Perry actually has a personality.
What makes “Part of Me” such an automatic smash for Perry is in large part due to the fact that much of the team behind it are people responsible for some of Britney Spears’ biggest hits. Produced by Dr. Luke (who not so subtly borrowed his own beats from Britney’s “Till The World Ends”), the song is co-written by Max Martin (Britney’s “Baby One More Time”) and Bonnie McKee (Britney’s “Hold It Against Me”), in addition to Katy herself. With a roster like that, it’s hard to imagine the track would be anything but guaranteed dynamite. And that’s precisely what it is.
“Part of Me” is also everything a successful contemporary breakup song should be. It’s layered with an unapologetic I’m-so-much-happier-without-you theme, an upbeat Kelly Clarkson-esque power pop/rock hook, and most importantly, self-empowerment.
“Now look at me I’m sparkling, a firework, a dancing flame. You won’t ever put me out again, I’m glowing. So you can keep the diamond ring, it don’t mean nothing anyway. In fact you can keep everything except for me,” Perry triumphantly declares in the song’s bridge before re-entering the fist-pumping chorus. “This is the part of me that you’re never gonna ever take away from me, no. Throw your sticks and stones, throw your bombs and your blows but you’re not going to break my soul.” Sounds like someone’s recently gotten their claws sharpened.
FUN FACT: The lyrics to the bridge originally read, “You can keep the dog, I never liked him anyway,” but were changed to “You can keep the diamond ring, it don’t mean nothing anyway” because …. well, you know. Sorry, Russell.
While “Part of Me” is by no means groundbreaking, it’s the perfect spice to add some much-needed substance and flavor to Perry’s repertoire. It’s almost hard to believe that a song as well constructed as this one comes to us from the same “artist” who gave the world “I Kissed A Girl,” “California Gurls” and “Peacock.”
A friend recently said to me, “it’s good to betray your principles from time to time. Doing that reminds you that you have them.” With that sentiment in mind, I put Katy Perry’s new single straight to the top of my cardio playlist – and immediately hated myself for having fueled the beast. But nothing burns more calories than self-loathing set to the beat of an excellent pop song.
Originally published on PopBytes