The Forthcoming Tricked Out Reissue of Teenage Dream

Katy, interrupted: midway through a performance of her single “E.T.”, just minutes after head Foo Fighter Dave Grohl speechified about celebrating the human element in music-making (specifically learning how to sing and play instruments); in the same Grammy Award broadcast that at once celebrated the power of one particular voice (the late Whitney Houston) while also inexplicably celebrating the spectacle of loathe-able mediocrity that is Chris Brown; in the middle of a performance that itself seemed, or might have seemed, aided by backing tapes, those presumable backing tapes started to skip. Or something. Something was wrong. Katy struggled – or seemed to – for a second. Live television! Recorded backing malfunction! What to do? Cross your fingers and hope the sound guys can find a quick fix? Pull an Ashlee Simpson and pretend it’s all the band’s fault? Slink off stage and announce to the nearest Entertainment Tonight correspondent that you’re entering rehab?

The lights went out. And Katy started to…

…sing her new single. O. M. G., Grammy audience! We’ve been punk’d! By Katy Perry!

Unfortunately, the song itself couldn’t live up to the cleverness of its introduction to the world. It’s called “Part of Me”, and is easily spotted as a kiss-off to her freshly exed husband Russell Brand (just as “E.T.”, the song aborted mid-performance to make way for the new single, might be easily spotted as a loopy tribute to Brand, dating back to the couple’s courtship). But the break-up aspect of the song is really the only thing newsy about it. The song doesn’t signal a new album – it’s merely being tacked on to a deluxe edition reissue of Perry’s sophomore album Teenage Dream (which has already sent a record setting six songs to the top of Billboard’s Pop Songs Chart) called The Full Confection, set for release March 27.

I was a fan of Katy’s first album One of the Boys, but I’ve found most of Teenage Dream to be, at best, generically likeable. This song is both less and more of the same. On one hand, where Teenage Dream was generally a cotton candy album (the LP edition even came out on cotton candy-scented, pink-flecked white vinyl!), this song wants to be a jawbreaker. On the other hand, as jawbreakers go, this one’s just not that tough. Think Kelly Clarkson’s “My Life Would Suck Without You” in reverse. Max Martin and Dr. Luke can toss off hitbound pop singles like this in their sleep, and it appears that’s what they’ve done here. “Part of Me” might just as well have been called “Katy Perry Radio Single #11” and come with black stripe, white block letter thumbnail artwork. But you needn’t take my word for it – hear it here: