Review 2013: Not The Doctor: Katy Perry: Part of Me.

Music During my hernia recovery I gave into temptation and began a Netflix subscription and quickly decided that I'd end up watching the kinds of things I wouldn't dream of adding to my Lovefilm dvd list.  Katy Perry: Part of Me fitted the bill and was I pleasantly surprised. No, fascinated. Not having much enjoyed anything to do with Katy Perry for ages other than her similarity to Zooey Deschanel, earlier in the year for cultural studies reasons watch her videography via YouTube stretching right back into her Katy Hudson years and boggled at how someone who began as a promising Alanis Morissette type singer ended up diving headlong into pop, how the earlier material wasn't deemed commercial enough even though there was an obvious through line. Katy Perry: Part of Me filled in some of the blanks, and how, in what seems, for all the fact that it's ninety minute advert for Team Perry, a surprisingly raw, surprisingly revealing documentary that doesn't stint on the horrors of the entertainment industry and attempting to be continue being a real human being in the middle of all the demands that exist in taking on a persona that isn't you and having to perform that all day, every day.  By all accounts she seemed to work hard right from the beginning, tossed around like the proverbial hot potato between record companies that didn't know what to do with her even though they knew that she was well worth doing something with, then having to essentially start again and going with something else which luckily caught on.  But then, with each album release and diving straight into the tour which the film documents she continues to not seem to have much time for herself or indeed her staff for themselves, as the tour circles the globe and she's flying here there and everywhere every week to be with her then husband, who's not really shown doing the reverse (it's fair to say if this is a propaganda piece for Team Perry, it throws Team Brand's image under a bus).  There's also a certain amount of hero building as Katy, amid breezy greetings with fans in greenrooms, is shown in the middle of her marriage break up, entirely unable to even contemplate going on stage, pulling herself together and then heading out to greet the biggest crowd of her career before having to pretend to enjoy the chants of them venerating her lost marriage.  As a friend of mine said on Twitter, "That bit where she's in the pit and crying..." Gosh, yes.  Plus when she helps her sister to choose a wedding dress.  There's also less of her music in the piece than expected, few of her songs shown from beginning to end, the preference being to explain the literal nuts and bolts of constructing the sets and choreography.  One of the reviewers on Netflix says the film made her a Katy Perry fan.  I'm more cautious.  Some of her songs (which the documentary stresses she has a hand in) are lyrically ambiguous (you know the one in particular) and some of her non-singles lack originality and depth.  But damn if kids or any of us can find something empowering even if that something is Perry's Fireworks, that has to be good thing.  Certainly helped me to recover.

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