Right now, you can watch Katy Perry's concert and tour documentary, Katy Perry: Part of Me on Netflix. You totally should. This is not sarcasm or irony, it is not a so-bad-it's-good sort of thing. I went in a reluctant listener to her music and came out a genuine fan. I was moved.
The key thing to understand is that watching Katy Perry: Part of Me is watching people love something that they care passionately about. For 97 minutes you get to hang out with people who are having fun without any snark or sarcasm. Almost immediately you can see just how much Katy Perry's music means to them, how it is an important force in their lives.
I consider myself a nerd, by which I mean I have obsessions that I care about a lot more than most other people think is normal. For years I was obsessed with things that gave me meaning, even though they were ultimately pretty trivial. Star Trek, Star Wars, Japanese anime, these things were all I wanted to eat, sleep and breathe.
So far be it for me to criticize others who are obsessed with pop music, celebrity culture or even sports. If you feel like an outsider and listening to "Firework" makes you feel better or help you accept yourself, more power to you.
For a long time I dismissed Katy Perry's music as manufactured, auto-tuned, corporate, and I had those thoughts in the back of my head when I started watching Katy Perry: Part of Me, but I quickly realized that it does not matter. Perry talks about how she wants her music to get people to celebrate themselves, to come together and not feel so alone. Even if those are the same mission statements of all pop music, it is still a good mission to have. And it clearly is working, I found the scenes of fans talking about how her music means to them the most touching part of the movie.
For them, Katy Perry bringing the California Dreams tour to their city feels a lot like someone else's Star Wars Convention or Comic Con. And frankly she puts on a way better show. I was pretty blown away at how over-the-top the sets, costumes and stage production were for the tour. Only seeing it on screen, I can only imagine how much fun it must have been to attend one of these shows.
A lot of time is spent showing how much work goes on to take such an elaborate show on the road, and it is really clear that Perry had to work really hard. I was in awe of how much she has to give and felt it only reinforced when she discussed how much performing means to her and what she hopes her music will accomplish. I am pretty cynical, but I cannot be harsh on that.
I came out of watching Katy Perry: Part of Me a new fan. I am still not enamored with everything she does (in particular, her aversion to identifying as a "feminist" is still troubling) but I am not going to dismiss her anymore. I have had to re-think my stance towards pop music and a lot of other things in pop culture that I looked down on before, and I feel much better about how I view these things as a result.
So you should watch Katy Perry: Part of Me. I think you might like it.