Variety has dubbed it "the confessional album the world has been waiting for," and what we know of the singer's private life has had fans talking for years. In fact, some think that maybe Katy Perry's "Hey Hey Hey" is about Russell Brand. And I'm not sure how I feel about the theory. On one hand, the very idea of her using the Witness album to fire shots at her former beau seems absurd. The pair split on the final day of 2011, and, according to the "Swish Swish" star in 2015, they haven't spoken since. That was a many moons ago, and surely there's no need to address a relationship that's long gone. But despite all those years passing, the British comic still makes a habit of speaking about his former marriage to the press.
In 2015, a documentary Brand: A Second Coming showed him making insulting comments about his marriage: "'The stuff in Africa hit me really hard. I'm associated with the very thing I detest: vapid, vacuous, plastic, constructed, mindless celebrity. That's the very sea we're swimming in, 'Oh, who's he?' ... 'He's married to Katy Perry'." The pop star was even part of Brand's stand-up routine, with him making fun of how little sex he had post-marriage. Just two months ago, he spoke affectionately about his marriage to Perry — but, still, the fact he's even still commenting on the subject seems a little unnecessary. So who could blame the singer if she wanted to fire back?
And with that, let's address the album's second track, "Hey Hey Hey." It opens on a list of descriptions of the singer herself which sound as if they've come from someone else's mouth:
"A big beautiful brain with a pretty face, yeah
A babydoll with a briefcase, yeah
A hot little hurricane, ha!"
Given that, even when the comic sung the star's praises, he often used gendered language that made her sound younger than she is, could this song be drawing inspiration from their relationship? In 2010, he wrote in his second autobiography My Booky Wook 2: "She chose me, bottled me, and cuffed me. And now this is my life, my girl, this beautiful woman." Obviously, there's a lot of heart in this statement. But the narrative of her taming him and the emphasis on her looks ("beautiful") and sexual tone of her actions ("cuffed me") seems in line with these lyrics of Perry's.
Like the other songs which appear to address an ex ("Deja Vu," "Miss You More" and "Save As Draft"), the song is written addressing a "you," which we see in the chorus:
"You think that I'm a little baby
You think that I am fragile like a Fabergé
You think that I am cracking, but you can't break me"
Of course, this could be directed at any ex, right? But since Perry later states in the track "Keep your penny thoughts, I'm making a mint," this would limit the possibilities of who the song is addressing to the exes that are still talking about their relationships with the 32-year-old star. And did you notice that currency? The penny is both American and British currency.
While Brand now speaks with more respect about Perry, this follows on from years of his making fun of his marriage with the star. Plus, the "Firework" star herself once revealed that following the divorce, she had suicidal thoughts. Clearly, this was a relationship she was deeply hurt by — and, in Perry's 2014 Cosmopolitan interview, she's acknowledged that she's had a lot of therapy since then to get through the rough times following her marriage. That could be why she now seems so defiant about the relationship implied in the song.
So, if you're looking for a song to see how far she's come since then, check out "Hey Hey Hey." It's sad and strong all at once, and that's all you can reasonably expect of someone potentially singing about their ex-husband.