In Defense of Britney Spears
Let’s be real: everyone grew up with a deep love for the original princess of pop, Britney Spears. When she hit the music scene at the tender age of 16, she was the virginal wunderkid of the teen music world. “… Baby One More Time” hit the shelves in Jan. 1999 and featured 5 singles. When “Oops! I Did it Again” was released the following year, Britney was an established star and recording powerhouse. The early years of Britney Spears were awesome, and everyone knows it.
What not everyone seems to rec¬ognize is that Britney Spears continues to be awesome. Her recent albums have quality pop songs on them, which have been overshadowed by the drama in her personal life. The entire world knows that Britney lost her shit in 2007. We were privy to intimate details of her life as the paparazzi pursued her relentlessly, pictures of her shaved head and her at¬tacking a photographer’s car with an um¬brella were all over the magazines and the internet, and she now holds the Guinness World Records for ‘Most Searched Person’ on the Internet for 2007 and 2009. The world is fascinated by Britney Spears. For many people, including those closest to her, she is a cash cow and noth¬ing more. Very few people care to get to know who Britney Spears is. Luckily, her music has been showing us glimpses of her personality over the years.
“I’m Mrs. Lifestyles of the rich and famous/ you want a piece of me/ I’m Mrs. Oh my god that Britney shameless/ you want a piece of me” sings Britney on her 2007 album “Blackout.” Britney reacts to her tumultuous relationship with the media on the album, telling her side of the story. “Gimme More” is another song that references the never-ending media scrutiny in her life. Her personal songs have taken on the media, shared her love for her two sons and showed fans a softer side. “Womanizer,” from her most recent album “Circus” is a track that Britney called an anthem for girls.
“Blackout” was written and record¬ed during her year of intense personal struggle, and was called by Allmusic.com “coherent and entertaining” and rated 3.5 out of 5 stars. Rolling Stone also rated the album 3.5 out of 5 stars. The album deserves high praise and so does Britney herself, since she served as executive pro¬ducer on the album.
Her playful side comes out on “Circus.” The track “If U Seek Amy” caused controversy for the double en¬tendre name. Critics have compared the album with “Blackout” for featuring confrontational lyrics and taking inspira¬tion from dance, electro-pop, and rock genres. She has also been hard at work writing songs for her albums since “…Baby One more Time.” On her third al¬bum “Britney,” she wrote five tracks and on her fourth, “In The Zone,” she wrote eight of the 12 songs.
Britney has impressive statistics that most people don’t seem to know or care about. She is the youngest female artist in the history of the music business to have her first five studio albums debut at number one. She has sold over 83 million records worldwide.
She was named the second-best selling act of the 2000s by Billboard Magazine and was also ranked the 8th overall best act of the decade. These de¬cisions were made based on album sales, chart success, and “cultural relativity.” Britney was the fifth best selling artist of the past decade and the top selling female artist. Time after time, Britney has served up the results of her hard work.
Often derided for lip-synching in concert, people often forget that many artists have faced the same accusation. Musicians like Beyoncé and Madonna have both also been called out for lip-synching at concerts. In today’s auto-tune laden music industry, stars feel pressure to sing flawlessly in concert while also performing intricate dances on larger than life sets and in outrageous costumes. Pink dangled herself from the ceiling at the VMA’s this year, for God’s sake. These aren’t simply singers, but performers, ex¬pected to keep the crowd entertained with bigger and better extravaganzas and to deliver absolutely perfect vocals.
You can call Britney crazy. You can compare her vocals to her long-time competitor Christina Aguilera. You can criticize her outfits, her driving habits, or her tattoos. What you cannot con¬test is that the world loves Britney. She is America’s first and foremost Princess of Pop. Despite being hounded by the pa¬parazzi, despite having marital problems, and despite constant criticism of her tal¬ent and performances, she has remained on top of a fickle and hard-hearted indus¬try for over a decade. It all boils down to one simple truth: “It’s Britney, bitch.”