Katy Perry's Part of Me 3-D: Does Everyone Really Like a Good Girl Gone Bad?
Sex, drugs, and rock and roll may have defined rock culture in the 1970s and '80s, but in Katy Perry's feature-length documentary, which released today, it's clear that a younger generation has embraced a more racy, sexually overt identity, one that Perry's music has encapsulated.
In Part of Me 3-D, thousands of Perry's fans turned out to hundreds of tour dates, dressed in colorful wigs and cupcake bras, dancing to a soundtrack created by a pop artist who has been rewarded for emerging from a sheltered, Pentecostal background to belt out lyrics that glorify same-sex hookups, drunkenness, and male anatomy as the pinnacle of ecstasy for this generation.
"She writes her lyrics straight from her diary," manager Bradford Cobb says in the film. "She speaks for her fans - for her generation."
Since Christianity Today last covered the life of Perry, 27, ("Katy Perry: 'I'm Still a Christian'") in 2010, her music career has rocketed to record heights, while her marriage to then-fiancfamp;copy; Russell Brand has crumbled. This juxtaposition is aptly portrayed in her documentary, showcasing her awards and credentials in the industry that are second to none, while including moments of tears and heartache on the road as her marriage falls apart.
Not only does Perry identify as the first female music star to have five number-one singles off of the same album (not even the Beatles have accomplished that - only Michael Jackson has), she has now successfully completed a global tour that grossed millions in revenue and boasts over 22 million Twitter followers of all races, shapes, and sizes.
"We're Katy Perry fans, and we don't care how old we are!" two baby boomer enthusiasts say at one of Perry's shows.
Some argue Perry's sexually overt identity is a reflection of culture, while others claim she embraces it on her own accord. Whatever the stance, it's clear that fame doesn't come without a price: For Perry, it was the loss of her marriage.
"When I was younger, girls would say, 'I don't want to have to choose between love and a career,' but I thought I would be able to have both," Perry said (see "Can Christian Women Have it All? Debunking the Work-Life Balance Myth"). "That fairy tale is not true for me though - I tried and I failed. I learned so much from that journey. But I feel like I have a second chance at a brilliant life."
Second chances are pretty biblical, but Perry has yet to publicly identify with Christianity in her mainstream music (she failed to launch a gospel career as a teen: see the fruits of her effort on self-titled LP Katy Hudson, released in 2001 from Red Hill Records). This may be a result of her running from a severely sheltered upbringing: according to Perry, everything was "church activities and church kids"; according to her grandmother, her parents were always "on the road preaching," and according to Perry's sister Angela, the Hudson children couldn't even eat Lucky Charms because her parents believed "luck was of Lucifer." So when Perry moved to Los Angeles at the young age of 18 after her gospel career flopped, she began to shape her identity as an individual for the first time in a culture ripe with experiences she had never seen before.
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