Mean Betty on Whether Katy Perry’s “Part of Me” Is About Russell Brand
The big question on everyone’s lips after Katy Perry’s performance of “Part of Me” at the Grammys is whether the song is about Russell Brand. So: Is it? Mean Betty investigates!
Kittens, did you tune into the Grammy Awards this past Sunday night? Or were you too busy having tea with the Queen during the BAFTAs? Don’t worry, Meanie doesn’t blame you if you were—tea with the Queen isn’t something you brush off lightly, especially not when the British Academy of Film and Television Arts is involved. But in case you somehow didn’t catch the Grammys and have no Royal (or otherwise British) excuse as to why, let Meanie tell you, kittens, you missed out. You can catch up on the Best Dressed, the “My Eyes Are Burning!”, and the Best Performances of the night here, here, and here (and Meanie will know if you haven’t, you naughty little things); but right now, Meanie would like to address a certain blue-haired chanteuse and whether or not the brand-new song she performed during the show is about a particular long-haired actor/comedian.
That’s right, kittens: Meanie is talking about Miss Katy Perry (who, by the way, is officially Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson again), the song “Part of Me,” and what, if any, its connection may be to her recent divorce from Russell Brand. In case you haven’t heard the song, open your ears and give it a listen here:
Now, then: What to make of it? Some are describing the tune as “Russell Brand-inspired;” others think it more aggressively “takes aim” at Russell; and still more are simply asking the question of whether or not it details Katy’s feelings, however negative they may be, about the divorce. There can be no denying that the song has its angry face on, but Meanie would like to examine the matter further. Let’s break it down, shall we?
As previously stated, it is angry. Of that there can be no question.
In addition, it’s about a failed relationship. Of that there can also be no question.
This performance marks Katy’s first major appearance since they signed their divorce settlement. Subsequently, could it be that she chose to use the opportunity to vent everything she may have been bottling up? Perhaps.
The lyrics. Recall, kittens, that this song was first leaked in an early form back in 2010, at which time the general consensus was that it was about Katy’s ex-boyfriend Travis McCoy. Lyrics for that version can be found here. Now fast-forward to the present—and note the substitution of the lines “So you can keep the diamond ring/ It don’t mean nothing anyway” for “You can keep the dog from me/ I never liked him anyway.” Revealing? Just a bit.
Katy Perry has a lot of help writing her songs. Take “California Gurls,” for example: In addition to Katy, four other people are credited with helping to write it. The same is true for “Part of Me.” It’s possible that those other folks decided that capitalizing on Katy and Russell’s divorce was a good business move.
Songs aren’t always personal. Often they are—indeed, the best songwriting comes from the heart—but sometimes, the “I” that performs a song isn’t necessarily the “I” of the musician. See: David Bowie/Ziggy Stardust/et al.
Katy and Russell’s divorce was surprisingly amicable. There wasn’t any gnashing of teeth or cheap shots at the other person; they just announced it, and then quietly got it over with.
So what’s the verdict, kittens? After taking a closer look at it, Meanie is inclined to believe that the song is, in fact, about Russell and Katy’s soured relationship. Even though they have managed to maintain a healthy level of professionalism about the whole thing, artists are still artists, and most artists create their art based on what’s going on around them. It’s how they process the world, and as far as things go, it’s a healthy thing to do.
Interestingly, though, because dear Katy has neither confirmed nor denied all of our rampant speculations, it gives us a certain amount of agency and, dare Meanie say, culpability. It’s not as if Katy has gone right out and slammed her ex-husband to the press in a statement; unless she goes right out and says it, whatever we choose to take away from her music is our own business.
At the end of the day, though, kittens, art turns feelings into something more than the sum of their parts. As an artist, what’s the point of having feelings if you’re not going to use them?
Hmmm. Meanie feels inspired. Perhaps it’s time to have the butler break out that old guitar and compose an ode to Meanie’s favorite cocktail…