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?