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March 28, 2011

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Phil Freeman

We had some of the same thoughts (including thoughts of Elvis), it seems. I reviewed the new Britney album at BurningAmbulance.com today; here's a link:

http://bit.ly/gYUeiA

jbryant

I've always thought classic Motown was a model for molding the careers of Britney, the teen poppers who came up with her, and of course many R&B and hip-hop artists of the last several years. Multiple producers, almost as much focus on image and choreography as music, blending "white" and "black" musical genres. It's on a much bigger scale now, obviously not confined to one label or stable of producer/writers.

I generally like Britney. Much of her stuff is utterly disposable, but some of it sticks. "Toxic" is an amazing record (the video ain't to shabby either, for, um, different reasons.

jbryant

Also, it ain't "too" shabby. And I should've closed the parentheses. I know, everyone gets that they're typos, but I have an English degree, so it's a matter of pride that I prove I really know these things. :)

jbryant

And also, yes, I know that "ain't" isn't -- oh, never mind.

Jimmy

Hey Phil, thanks for the link to your site. Wasn't familiar with it until today.

Good for Britney. While her music isn't quite my cuppa tea, I'm glad to see her creating and getting her life together.

Wishing her success and happiness.

Lex

LOOK AT HER! Britney RULES, LOOK AT HER. Amazing that she's come out of a lot of "trouble" looking fairly good and almost sane; Just sticking with the back catalog having not heard the new stuff: That early run of singles is still an iPod mainstay for me-- esp. Drive Me Crazy and Oops! I Did it Again.

But "Everytime" (nice spelling, Brit) is her high-water mark, Madonna-esque in the haunting, depressing "Live to Tell" way, and awesome video with Stephen Dorff and a bathtub. Also, yeah, "Toxic" and "Womanizer" are above the call for up-tempo tracks.

Of course we ALL KNOW for a MULTITUDE OF REASONS, Mandy Moore's "Candy" is the greatest single and video of the Pop Tart era; Aguilera's "Fighter" and "Beautiful" are her best, but those aren't really from the Class of 1999.

HAHA @ New Radicals. HUGE soft spot for late 90s music, it having been the era I moved to L.A. (well, 1995), and I'd drive around blasting whatever Third Eye Blind, Citizen King (BETTER DAYS), Sugar Ray, Fastball, Eve 6, 311, Chevelle THE RED, Kid Rock, Soul Coughing, Sprung Monkey mashup was on the radio.

It's like an era NO ONE is nostalgic for except me.

Fuzzy Bastarrd

Great piece! It's long been the case that "Britney Spears" referred to a large organization with the titular individual serving as media representative; it's nice to see that dynamic examined without excessive nose-crinkling.

Back when I worked at a certain major label in the early aughts, the consensus was the Britney's days were numbered, but Aguilera would enjoy a long and lucrative career thanks to her savvy catering to the much more loyal Spanish-language market. And I suspect that's still true, though Britney has certainly held on longer than anyone would think possible. If she can avoid flashy burnout (and properly time her inevitable coming-to-Jesus gospel record), she might end up with Celine Dion longevity after all.

Lex

Also I miss the BARE MIDRIFF era, as ushered in by Brit in the ONE MORE TIME video. I totally missed out, never having dated during that era. I missed BARE MIDRIFF, the STRAIGHT HAIR ERA (poodle hair seems to be creeping back), I missed the HOT CHICK IN TRUCKER HAT era... I'm about to miss this glorious ten years of women wearing fetish heels now that flat covered shoes are back.

Next thing you know, hot chicks are all gonna have poodle hair, acid washed jeans and JELLY SHOES again like they had in my 1988-1993 heyday. I missed out on the whole BRITNEY-inspired midriff/vixen fetish era.

What will come back next, bush?

Scott

I always find myself surprised at how consistently polished and fun Britney's output is, considering it's essentially music-by-committee (even by pop/hip-hop standards). I like the Kate Bush-esque "Everytime" too, and "Toxic" is just a great song. However, one troublesome thing I've detected about Brit (particularly post-meltdown) is how disinterested she seems in having a career at all. Promotion for her last couple albums has felt very obligatory, and she barely seems to try in her live shows. (I went to one concert a while back, and left feeling almost depressed, it was so listless and going-through-the-motions.) But, apparently, she doesn't have to do much to inspire devotion. Her fans have really stayed with her.

X-tina, on the other hand, is over, IMO. And good riddance. I enjoyed Stripped as much as the next gay, but she has to be most humorless and self-serious pop star on the planet -- and that's saying a lot. Great pipes, though. I agree, the power-ballad route is probably the only option left for her.

LOL, what a strange conversation to be having on Glenn's blog!

Chris D

What a pathetic joke that a record lable (or ANYone, for that matter) would wastes so much time and throws that much money behind a talentless piece of trash like Britney Spears. Just because she can dance, she gets a recording contract?!? She can't play, write OR sing, and this latest production will prove it even further. It requires a small ARMY to package her and sell her off to the sheep-like masses who will but any CRAP that's shoved up their collective rear ends hard enough by the media. Of course it has to be as perverse as possible because the only thing her lable is truly selling (and pretty much prostituting her for) is sex. Spears' whole genre of "music" is plastic, disposable crap, but at least Gaga, Katy Perry and (going back to the beginning here) Madonna have a voice and can perform without mouthing the words to backing vocal tracks that have been layered 27 times. Spears should stick to what she knows best- pole dancing.

Jaymie

Britney's new song chorus is a copyright and is the theme song to that reality tv show that was on a couple years ago called "Paradise Hotel" where young adults were hooking up with someone to partner for the week with 1 left without a partner. It's word for word to the show's theme song. Really pathetic that she has lost her way sooo much that she has to copy another song. Time to retire and just be a Mom.

Dan Dever

Glenn,
Firstly, very nice to make your acquaintance!
Secondly as a professional musician I had to tone in on this subject well because I simply must.

The music industry has changed, and not for the better they no longer actually care about talent, if you have it well that's just great but if not "their" attitude is well, we don't really need to worry about that right now.

On a side note, when I first moved to Las Vegas I was literally told by a professional musician, "this town has nothing to do with playing the drums" I found that to be quite sad and knew I wouldn't be sticking around that slime hole for very much longer.
But I digress...
The media is somewhat responsible, rather Madison avenue is directly responsible for the purporting of this bimbo as an artist.
She's clearly grasping at straws and her management "team" is obviously only concerned with keeping the ol gravy train rolling and getting paid at this point. Do you think they really care whether or not she wrote, produced/co produced or even sang any of the tunes?
I can almost certainly guarantee she or her producer is using post production methods as well as chorus effects because to be honest, she's a horrible singer and she's only merely passing on being a "entertainer" at this point.
Take an artist like Joss Stone and you can say what you'd like about her "whimsical, eclectic nature" but that's her voice being heard.
Amy Winehouse, what a great artist regardless of her personal problems, she's an unbelievable talent.

Another great example would be Eryka Badu, what a great all around artist she is with a very unique contribution to the world of contemporary music.
There is a point of diversion which Ms. Spears' team has obviously not stumbled upon yet and that is this, she is not an ARTIST!
She looked good in a mini skirt and high heels for a minute but that minute has passed, and so should she from our sight, our psyche and the horrible, horrible thing called the music "business"

Godiva

Its interesting to read such elaborate details for a mindless aerobics instructor "ess" turned dance crap. Whats even more amazing is how many gifted personalities in electronic music especially dj's, don't bother with her, unless the former All In The Disney Family supply a check.
Obviously the music is going to be heartfelt, deep and intuitive as the not of male gender twang, mimics words she has to figure out means something as she details them to crowds of morons and what should be considered dangerous "humans". Its so American pie.
Dr.Luke makes "us" sick.

me.yahoo.com/a/7Iy1wSNqrfXigYRgGVZb3cY_khIH8RycBho2UQ--

Haters are not a surprise, but calling her talentless while she's selling records top of the charts only show people lack of knowledge. There are a lot of great things about her, that continues to maintain her old fan base and still acquire younger fans. Not writing songs or producing songs isn't news. I lived in other countries and that's how things are supposed to be. She was an over the top dancer. It is hard to dance like that as an adult and after kids & life drama. You can only appreciate her if you are a dancer yourself and go through similar life changes. Other than that, you just lack of knowledge to appreciate her. She is a down to earth sweet heart to her fans like no others. So stop the hate just because you can't agree!

Glenn Kenny

Boy, you write an article about Britney Spears, you get some unusual responses. You think these comments are out of the ordinary, you should see some of the e-mails I've gotten! These people will all flee when the Farley Granger memorial post goes up, though...

Tom Russell

Fuck, Farley Granger died? I'm a huge Granger fan. There are movies I sought out-- to take just three examples, the Danny Kaye HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSON, the anti-Japanese flagwaver PURPLE HEART, and some middling art-world satire the name of which I can't recall-- specifically because Farley Granger was in them, movies I likely wouldn't have made the time to watch otherwise. Jesus, this is depressing news.

Asher

You know, as to Britney, I actually think her music is more personal and of a piece than that of most pop stars. However overtly manufactured they may be, they are all ultimately songs about this damaged, sexually confused, child-like woman. How many of her big hits can one honestly imagine being sung by anyone else, or at least, any other big-name female pop star of the moment? Perhaps you could give Rihanna 'Womanizer,' but I'm pretty sure she'd make a hash of it.

In keeping with my obnoxiousness about dead people, I think Granger is a detriment to both Hitchcocks he's in, especially ROPE, where I find his demure mousiness just unbearable. Of course, he's supposed to be the mousy one, but somehow there he crosses the line for me between performing mousy and a mousy performance. You can certainly make an argument for his not very attractive, sexless brand of careerist preppy normality working for STRANGERS ON A TRAIN, but I think he tends to make the character even less attractive than he should be. I do like what he does with his part in STORY OF THREE LOVES.

Michael Davis

Please Get Off Of Britney!! She may not write all of her songs or play her own music, but who really does, besides Stevie Wonder?? Britney sings & performs the HELL out of those songs!! Regardless of whoever wrote them!! Most of the greatest songs were wrote and sung by different people!! Britney is very beautiful, very talented and very, very marketable!! And there are millions & millions of people, around the world, who totally agree!! I'm not even a Britney Fan!! I'm just saying,"Stop Hating on Britney, and try to enjoy the energy she brings" -AskBigMiKE

Helena

Thank God you're planning a Farley Granger memorial post - normal service will be resumed shortly.

CO

She's talentless. Wait, no, she's not. She's an aerobics instructor who can lipsynch. I guess that's a talent.

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