Katy Perry’s only number one in 2012 is somewhat of an oddity. Although written in 2010 during the sessions for the Teenage Dream album, Part of Me was released only 2 years later as part of a re-issue of that album. Called Teenage Dream: The Complete Confection, the version added 3 new songs, 3 official remixes and an acoustic version of The One That Got Away. When announcing its release, Perry offered the explanation that she has to get a few more things off her chest before moving on. She called Teenage Dream: the Complete Confection the “complete special edition of my album for my fans”.
The lyrical theme of Part of Me deals with a female protagonist staying strong in the face of a break-up, or, as MTV put it, “Perry declaring herself unbreakable after an ugly breakup”. Coincidentally, Perry’s divorce from Russell Brand occurred around the same time as the song’s release. Critics were rather underwhelmed by the lyrics; A.V. Club called them dopey, while Rolling Stone stated that they only “supply tabloid bait”. NME criticized the whole song, calling it “another de-humanised slab of radio pop from Perry INC”.
The music video that accompanies Part of Me sees Perry ending her relationship after catching her boyfriend flirting with another girl. She is then seen changing her physical appearance and joining the United States Marine Corps. In an interview with MTV, she detailed on the meaning of the video, as well as the experience behind filming it: “Well, I actually had the idea, I wrote the story about what it is actually like to be in the Service, and it does take a lot of physical strength, but now that I’ve been through it – and even just for the three days I was there, [it’s] a lot of mental strength. Even though I was sore and exhausted, I was so educated on people in the service, who I’ve always respected but the stuff they go through, and the kind of loyalty they possess, it’s very communal, and community.”
Part of Me spent 1 week at number one in Billboard Top 100, before being dethroned by Kelly Clarkson’s Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You).