September 29, 2008
Womanized? Not really.
So here's the thing about me and Missspears. It's pretty obvious I don't have much time for her. I had a Titney moment in 2000, but after she released that despicable Madonna duet (a low point for both), I wrote her off. Some bloggers will find this a tedious comment, but I think it has to do partly with my age. I do not in any way identify with Britney. I grew up in the Circa Madonna. "MLVCPR," who was always changing, always interesting (to me, anyway) and always introducing her fans to interesting new influences (eg: Keith Haring, voguing culture, geisha or Frida Kahl0.) She is a woman of the world.
Part of Britney's charm is that she really is a small town hick. This can be endearing: non-druggie Britney seems to be sweet, if simple. At this year's MTV Awards she had that dorky "Awwww, you guys!" smile back. I believe that is the real Britney. That said, she's appears to be a person who has no desire to learn or grow. Her world seems very small. Some compare her to Marilyn Monroe in her weird mix of vulnerability and sexuality. Tosh! Monroe was a moth to the flame of intelligence. She she took pride in being around smart men (and women). She married and adored one of the greatest playwrights in American history, Arthur Miller. Britney married and adored Kevin Federline.
As for Womanizer, I find it unspecial, repetitive and predictably plain. Pre-album buzz for this new album and the last was couched in terms of "We're taking Britney back to the club with hawt bangers." Snooze. First, when did she ever leave the club? And isn't that part of her problem? Britney's days as a Rihanna hottie with a python slithering around her tits are over. She may get in back in shape, but she'll never be New. We've done her. To survive, she has to change.
Two questions some Britney fans may ask me: "1) Could Britney ever impress you? 2) If not, could you shut the hell up?" The answer to #1 is an absolute yes, the answer to #2 is exactly why I don't write about her. At the time of her last album, I said that the unreleased ballad State Of Grace was exactly the type single she should launch, reminding fans of her softer side. Britney has, for several years now, disappeared from her own songs. Her voice is either heavily autotuned or just a frog croak. She doesn't appear to actually sing at all anymore. Assuming she can carry a note, which some think is debatable, I believe her lack of voice is reflective of her lack of self-awareness. Her whole life she has been surrounded by people who tell her who she is. Can you imagine what it's like to be in the public eye, as she is, and have no sense of self or independence? Like a drug addict, Britney - and her whole family - is deeply in need of the thing (mass attention) that could ultimately undo her.
Do you know Kerli's song Love Is Dead (video)? THAT is the kind of song I'd have Britney release now. Something that would flip our image of her upside down and shove the critics out the door with a heeled boot. OR I'd send her back to Max Martin and do something in the style that Pink does now, a pop-rock/electro mashup with a video that has moments of humor and honesty. I just wish she'd seek out a true collaborator who has a vision beyond nightclubs and Escalades.
Guy Sigsworth is working with Britney on her Circus album. He's a musical genius, so there may be some hope. His previous work with her has been somewhat watered down (you cannot really tell he did it), but when Circus is released, I will give her a chance. I hope she surprises me and everyone else with something that moves beyond the expected to the transcendant.