As long as I can remember, I’ve known the name Britney Spears. “Baby One More Time…” was the first CD I ever bought (I bought Spice World and N’Sync at the same time. 1999 FTW.), and I’ve followed her career ever since.
A couple years ago, I came home with her compilation CD, Greatest Hits: My Prerogative, and my dad laughed in my face when he saw it. “Britney Spears?! Mark my words, her career won’t last 5 years.”
Well friends, you’d think her track record would speak for itself now, as it did then, but I found myself having the almost identical conversation last night. Because, people… I HAVE BRITNEY TICKETS.
My dad: “Do you really think people will be listening to her in 10 years? She makes disposable pop.”
Me: “YES YES YES” *puts on Britney CDs and dances around living room*
Dad: “I can’t dance to bad music. She can’t sing.”
Me: “Stop being so curmudgeonly, it’s such fun electro-pop! Give in!”
Dad: “Back in my day, pop music had a melody.” (I AM NOT EVEN EMBELLISHING HE SAID THOSE EXACT WORDS.)
Me: “Stop trying to burst my bubble. I don’t care if she can’t sing that well, she makes good dance music and she makes me feel all nostalgic for the 90s. LEAVE BRITNEY ALONE.”
Dad: *Attempts to mock my dancing. Shakes his booty at the dog. Both the dog and I are scarred for life.*
Meanwhile, my mom was lip-syncing (in true Britney fashion!) and dancing around this whole while. My family is a sitcom sometimes, but controversy is what you get when it comes to Britney.
There’s a whole universe of intense semi-psychological cultural analysis out there about Britney Spears, and it can be fascinating and insightful. Right now, however, I’m not interested in talk about the commercialization of pop, commodification of sex, celebrity culture, or the myriad of other Britney-related themes.
All I want to say today is that it’s been 15 years since Britney first signed her record deal, and she remains one of the most relevant pop stars in the world. She’s released 7 full studio albums, 35 singles, and 34 music videos, and is the highest-selling female artist of the decade.
Hate on Britney all you like, but 100 million records don’t lie, and she’s laughing all the way to the bank.
It’s true, she doesn’t have the greatest voice. It’s true, her lyrics lack depth. It’s true, she barely does any of the writing on her albums. It’s true, she lip-syncs all her concerts and her dancing isn’t too great anymore. And yet our infatuation with Ms. Spears endures. Even the current crop of pop starlets know that Britney’s the queen–Ke$ha wrote “Till the World Ends” just for her and Rihanna asked her to join the S&M remix. Lady Gaga was spotted at a Britney concert last week, and Selena Gomez has been performing a Britney tribute on her own summer tour.
Undeniably, Britney has an x-factor, a star power, something that makes her unbeatably successful. I don’t know what exactly, but whatever it is, I’ll be dancing till the world ends on Saturday night.
It’s Britney bitch!