March 2, 2011 | life

The Britney Breakdown

I was 17 when Britney released her break out single, Hit Me Baby One More Time. The music was corny as hell and I was never a fan of bubblegum pop, but I had to hand it to her, this kid could perform her ass off. She was a conventional looking pretty blonde who could lip sync like a champion and really dance. She was riding high there for a few years. Then the marriage to the back up dancer came, then the kids, then just all of a sudden she went totally bat shit crazy and for the past few years everyone has been awaiting her supposedly great comeback. Well, this is it:

It’s all just a bit ‘meh’. Once again, if Britney videos are to be believed, she lives her entire life in some sort of futuristic wind tunnel dressed like a $2 hooker. Aside from the trashy attire, she’s looking great, in good shape and her weave is withstanding being thrown around with epic force. But something is just lacking (quite aside from a decent song, obviously). She’s dead in the eyes. Even her dancing is half assed now and there are quick cut camera shots to distract us from it. The fire, the drive, the passion, whatever it was that she had before seems to be gone and after watching the video I was left wondering if she even wants to do this anymore.

Actually no, it wasn’t after the video. It was the moment I saw the news footage a few years ago of that horrifying moment where she shaved her head looking like she’d been possessed by some sort of demon. From there she went into a downward spiral that was beyond disturbing to watch, with gossip websites hounding her to ensure that we all got our minute by minute breaking news on Britney’s Breakdown. It was all pretty disgusting. But, she’s an entertainer, right? Public property. Apparently, the media and we as consumers felt as though we had the right to get inside her troubles. Grab some popcorn and watch her crack up good and proper.

And I know we all roll our eyes when these celebrities say ‘we’re only human’, but in Britney’s case I really felt it. The intrusion had gone too far and she really was losing it. Britney’s just a year or two younger than me. We see so many of these young Hollywood girls lose their way so easily but for Ms Spears, with her international fan base and record breaking sales, it was a spectacular fall from grace that, even though I wasn’t a fan, I found terribly sad to watch.

But what is the exit strategy for an ‘aging’ pop starlet who isn’t even 30 yet? The musical and cultural landscape has changed and Britney’s once firm crown has been poached by the craziness of Gaga and the slutiness of Rihanna. Where does Britney fit in now? Will she forever hover in her futuristic wind tunnel or can we just give the girl a break and let her go live on a horse farm in Idaho?

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13 Comments

Charlie

The Britney story is one that resonates strongly with me. I don’t know why. She just always seems terribly human where other stars seem untouchable.

One of the moments that really made me feel desperately sad about it all was when the media went insane over this http://www.entertainmentrx.com/content/uploads/2007/11/britney-spears-drops-baby.jpg

OMG BRITNEY NEARLY DROPS HER BABY! AND SHE’S GOT A DRINK IN HER HAND! I mean it could be water. It could be alcohol. Doesn’t really matter because as a mum of two I can tell you that if you’re holding a child who doesn’t want to be held and starts bucking in a bid for escape, even with both hands it can be a struggle to contain them and you don’t always have the time to put down whatever it is you have in your other hand, be it a drink, a remote control, a handbag or whatever.

The willingness of the press and public to add this to the evidence files of her unsuitability as a parent really bothered me and still does actually. This kind of thing happens all the time. It wasn’t even a mistake by my reckoning, and as parents, most of us make those at some time or another *remembers with horror the baby/razor blade incident*

Anyway, Britney, she should retire. Learn to be herself and not “Britney Spears”, but if thats even possible when its all you’ve ever known, I don’t know.

Angie

Hahah!! I was thinking the uthing the other day but I believe the whole thing began to unravel with the end of her relationship with Justin Timberlake, he outed her on her affair with famed choreographer Wade Robson which also played a huge role in the end of her well orchestrated performances and maybe why the dancing passion has died.

But with Christina Aguilera unraveling at the seams since her impending divorce was public knowledge she too has begun to display plenty of Britney like tendencies. I think we were so quick to call Britney`s attempt to figure out how to cope as completely lose of personal being… where at this point other fame whore celebrities make Britney`s frustrations seem like a walk in the park. Never was she arrested for DUI, no drug problems, no rantings of a lunatic ala Charlie Sheen and she has no control of her money or how she cares for her kids.

It feels she was always made the poster child of things going bad in an industry that is forcing her hand to produce. I too feel for her.

Jen @JenLittleBird

I was 13 when Hit Me Baby… came out. I grew up with Britney riding high in the charts and her early songs remind me of high school discos and sleepovers. When she shaved her head and started attacking people with that umbrella, I found it disturbing to watch and utterly sad.

It’s a total cliché but one that will always be revisited because it applies to so many celebrities – the whole child star thing. Britney, Christina, Lindsay, MJ, Gary Coleman – all child stars, all experienced/experiencing difficulties functioning in society at an older age.

WendyJournal

I love Britney (mainly because we share the same birth date) so I always hope that her next single does well and that she gets back on top again – but this video scares me a bit every time I watch it. Especially the part where it looks like she’s having a fit. Also some very awkward product placements in there!!

Samantha

I think you’ve missed something here.
Although I completely agree that Britney’s downward spiral was hard to watch, not to mention how we offered her no privacy in the process, as you said… you may have jumped a bit from her breakdown to now. She’s released two albums since that hair buzzing extravaganza (so, I would think thats no longer a weave), and some of the songs (unlike this new one) I personally find were perfectly well done (at least audibly) and were critically acclaimed. Maybe she’s maturing in her hunger for fame and success, and that fire has been dampened as she realizes it’s not all glamorous in the spotlight, but I wouldn’t use this video as characteristic of her work since it all happened in 2007. She still has fight in her.

The Jaded NYer

Idaho? C’mon! We all know she’ll go right back to Black Swamp, LA and raise aligators or something backwoodsy like that LOL

Dr. J

Hey girl.
Britney reminds us all that she is actually a real person. I think that these larger than life images are created for people and we forget, as the great Shawn Carter said, “You was who you was before you got here.” That holds true for Britney. She ain’t do nothing but just let that inner-trailer out, and it was great. It ain’t only happen to her though… Christina Aguilera’s family of addiction has caught up with her, she can’t shake the bottle. Think of the countless Black hip hop stars who are in prison because their past just came falling out. The only people I think MAY avoid this are Willow and Jaden just because their roots are enough to keep them larger than life. But keep in mind, Chris Brown was a poor kid from rural VA… he only did what he saw growing up.

This is all going to come to a head when Justin Bieber hits some girl. He from the hood. That’s why people love him so much, came from nothing and now he’s larger than life. Trust me though … it’s going to happen. I think he’s going to punch Willow over something stupid and it’s all going to go to sh*t.

Circus Queen

Wouldn’t it be mind-blowing if Britney were to go away for a bit and come back re-incarnated as a highly political folk singer?

Bangs and a Bun

CHARLIE – Couldn’t agree more – it was horrible how she got torn apart for that.

ANGIE – Very good points.

JEN – It may be cliche but there’s definitely something in the child star thing.

WENDYJOURNAL – Ahh the product placement is so cringeworthy!

SAMANTHA – I definitely see your point. I just feel that everything she’s released since she kind of went off track just seems a bit ‘meh’, like she’s not really into it anymore. Genuinely, I feel for her and want her to succeed but at the same time, I wanna see her healthy and perhaps the spotlight isn’t the healthiest place for her.

JADED – You joker!

DR JAY – I’m dead at your whole bit about Beiber and Willow at the end.

CIRCUS QUEEN – That right there is a genius idea – you should talk to her ‘people’ about that.

Ondo Lady

I was never a real Britney fan although I did bop to a few of her tunes but I was also quite disturbed by her meltdown. I actually thought she was going to top herself but thank god it did not come to that. Ah Britney, where shall I start? Teens making hit songs is nothing new but the first thing that struck me about her career in the initial stages was the fact that there was no gap between the release of her first and second albums. Back in the day music artists released an album, promoted the hell out of it and then disappeared off the face of the earth for two or three years and then came back with a brand new album. But there was no time out for Britters and this indeed is now a growing trend with music artists nowadays. Rihanna released Rated R in 2009 and then 5 mins later she had a new album out. She was never out of our face. The fact is that they worked Britney like a horse and of course she faced burn out, exhaustion and inevitably rebellion. So no surprise that she eloped, got her marriage annulled, remarried a scumbag, popped out two kids in two years, got divorced and then had the breakdown. It was really sad to see. But what was more alarming was her comeback barely a few years later on X Factor where she seemed totally spaced out. I just shook my head. Britney needs to go away, look after her kids, do some yoga and find herself again otherwise she will end up like another tragic teen sensation. Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber please take note.

Sarah

Perhaps Britney’s ship has sailed, maybe she will start training her kids to become singers then she will start a reality show about how she went about it. But anyway I think her ship has definitely sailed. But her songs still remain classics. There won’t be another britney

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