Ever since I first heard Baby One More Time, I was intrigued. I couldn’t comprehend why; at the time I was listening mostly to Gangsta rap and Rock n’ Roll with a little bit of Top 40. There was something captivating about the song though, I felt that I almost liked it. I thought I was just having a moment. My opinion of the cute girl dancing in the school gym wearing sweat pants, a half-top, and sometimes a school girl outfit, was that she was simply, a geek. I had never been into pop music, so I had trouble appreciating it. The uncomplicated lyrics about love and heartbreak, the laid back preppy sounding music and beats... It just wasn’t cool enough; it just wasn’t “Me”.
One night, I think I was 18 years old, I was watching Saturday Night Live. It as Brit’s debut performance of Oops I did it Again. To me, she did it again! I was once again mystified. When it was over I knew that this was it: I was a fan. Oops, I did it again, what kind of song is that? I thought it was unique, entertaining, and I liked the dance. Shortly after, the video came out. Britney had shaped up a bit and donned a skin tight red bodysuit. The video was campy and colourful and full of provocative moves. It was after Oops that I discovered that I did like pop music (N Sync had just come out with “It’s Gonna be Me”, which was just as merry, helping push me in the pop direction).
I was starting to really enjoy pop music, but I still didn’t “get” the lovey dovey lyrics (I was born to make you happy?? What? Really? THAT’s the only reason she was born? Pathetic!) or how so many songs can be about boys. I was used to music where songs were about something meaningful (U2, Guns and Roses, Tupac, etc.) And I was accustomed to listening to music that I wasn’t embarrassed to admit that I enjoyed. What I did know, however is that Britney’s upbeat songs made even breakups kinda happy. Sadness was presented with a bubblegum beat and I preferred to listen to that over the raw anger and intense sadness displayed in the lyrics of the Emo rock artists. Sill, I felt that in comparison, this wasn’t “real” music.
The lyric problem soon dissolved when Britney released her self-titled album, which included the sexy, orgy themed song “I’m a Slave For you” , accompanied by a video that had Britney panting and gyrating. It also included I’m not a Girl not Yet a Woman, which I totally “got” and liked even though it was cheesy. By that time I was twenty, and having overcame the initial lameness of pop music, I fully embraced the half top wearing, buff Britney singing on a computer animated mountain. A couple years later, she followed with “In the Zone”, which included songs about partying until early morning, masturbation, and make-up sex. Let’s just say that considering my age and lifestyle at the time, this was the perfect album to have in my CD player. (This was before this wonderful time of having thousands of songs fit in the palm of our hands). I would ensure that it was playing while I drank copious amounts of alcohol before stumbling to a club in high heels.
By the time Blackout dropped, I was at the point where I would like any songs that Britney came out with. I was a huge fan of that album, which was about getting naked, ditching your shitty boyfriend and giving the world a piece of you. She made that album when she was going through her media outrage, and it was the beginning of a new, improved, and seemingly older and wiser Britney. Circus was less raw, much showier, and chocked full of amazing tracks. She still appears naked in her womanizer video, and sings about phone sex and drunken nights, but she seems less edgy, almost like she is being herself now. A couple standout tracks on Circus include Out from Under which addresses feelings towards an ex in a more level headed way, rather than insisting that she’s suddenly stronger or leaving him in the dust and laughing while she goes and parties. It also includes a track about a new love that is unlike any other in that it’s grown up, and all the games are over.
Her newest album, Femme Fatale, has been described by Brit as her best album yet! It is for people who feel like they might be growing up and that realize it is time to gain awareness of sexuality, and become comfortable obtaining what is wanted in the bedroom. Almost every song makes you want to dance, and it will prove to be very motivating as a pre -party listen. One bonus track, “He about to Lose Me”, describes a situation that most women in their late twenties have been through: planning to break up with a neglectful boyfriend and trying to resist temptation until the process is complete. Another unique sounding song, Criminal, describes another circumstance that is familiar to the maturing youth of our time: falling for a bad boy even though it isn’t wise to do so. I find it hard to describe any of her albums as the best in comparison to one another, but this is definitely her most professional sounding one! It is full of good-time dance and party tracks, and I think it will appeal to a wide audience of twenty-somethings.
Although Britney’s voice has been described as “wispy”, and her personal life has been a mess, I describe her as one of my favourite performers and a singers. I hope she can continue to help create the music that I have grown to know and love. I sincerely enjoy listening to her music on repeat and I like being able to connect with the things she sings about due to our age similarity. The reason that I have loved Britney through all these years is that in a way, her songs were tandem with my experiences at the time. From unstable breakups, long nights, too many parties, trying to look good, and not giving a fuck, to a calm normalcy: a place that combines fun and gratification with emotional stability; a place where perhaps a few lines from a love song can finally make sense.