I already hate myself for writing this, so no comments please. Also, I would like to state for the record that it’s all amy’s fault. She got me hooked on the smack (This particular smack = Britney Spears’ new album), and I would thank you all kindly to punish her ass.
That being said, I’m going to confess something that torments my soul and will more than likely cause me great distress the next time I see my non-pop-enthralled friends in public: I like Britney’s new album. A lot. This hasn’t been easy for me to deal with – I’ve been sitting here trying to come to grips with it, pondering what could have caused me to turn so drastically from bands like The Cure and The Dead Milkmen to… this, and I’ve come up with a few things. First, The Cure themselves were beginning to get pretty damn poppy. Argue all you want, I’m going to foist some partial blame upon their black-clad shoulders. Second, it’s just a hell of a lot easier to be happy and bounce around while singing lyrics like Boys. Sometimes a girl just needs one than Head like a hole. Black as your soul. I’d rather die than give you control… Right? Right. So, while this does not excuse my
love like adoration appreciation of the Brit-shaped one’s music*, it does make me feel a little more justified. A little.
And now, I am going to make myself feel better by tempering the above with this: I do not like the entire album. In fact, I think some of it is quite horrid. Generally not entire songs – with the exception of “I’m not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman” which does, in fact, suck in its entirety – but parts of songs. Things they did to a perfectly fine song that they shouldn’t have, for no apparent reason. Like speaking. Britney talks. A lot. At the beginning. In the middle. Sometimes, for good measure, she’ll toss in some words of wisdom at the end. If you’re really lucky, you get all three. I hate this. I cannot tell you how much I hate this. I feel it’s trite and just generally obnoxious. Remember that “One More Try” song that was all the rage in fifth grade, by Timmy T? The most romantic song EVER, if you were 10? Well, I couldn’t get on board; I couldn’t cast my lot in with all of the adoring little girls and dedicate it until I was blue in the face. Why? Because Timmy fucked it all up with his little spoken plea at the end. And it’s the same thing here. It’s a song! You’re supposed to sing! Leave it be! There’s no need for talking! Be it porn-y or otherwise! There just isn’t! Really.
Which brings us to the first song: “I’m a Slave 4 U,” a song that kicks off with Britney breathing I know I may be young, but I’ve got feelings too. And I need to do what I feel like doing. So let me go, and just listen. Right. So it’s doomed from the start, you understand this, yes? Ah, not so fast…I have layers! Okay, no, not really, but if I cut that shite out and pretend it never existed, ignore the lyrics and just allow myself to be lulled by the beats, I can enjoy the song. And, after slamming my head on the desk a few times, I’ll even admit that this song has grown on me. A lot. I find myself singing along and shaking my hips to it in the car. No easy feat, let me tell you. Do I understand this? No. The lyrics are insipid. The overlay of “I just can’t help myself” and various other, I don’t know, “seductive” phrases Britney whispers over the track are uninspired. And yet, I can’t get the damn thing out of my head. I hate you, Amy.
For simplicity’s sake, let’s just go through this puppy track by track:
Once again, she feels the need to speak. Stop. It. This song is all about Brit being grown up and being herself. All she’s asking for is to be respected enough to make her own mistakes, like that Rolling Stone cover of two years ago. I can admit with slightly less shame than above that I dig this song a lot when I ignore the first five seconds and her insistence on using the word “destiny.” I mean, come on Brit, I don’t need anyone telling me what I’m going to do about my destiny? *sigh* If this sticks in your craw too, might I suggest cutting out “destiny” and just ending the verse at what I’m going to do – or, if you really need to fill in those extra beats, do with my life. = Sure, it’s already used in the song, but since when has pop been afraid of redundancy?
Tough!Britney! The “message” here is actually pretty much the same as the one in “Stronger” – she’s not going to be lonely, yo. She’s not letting him back in. He’s got no more appeal. Woo! All mocking aside, for a moment, I like this one! There will be minimal dissing on my part to make me feel better! Yes, she talks, but it doesn’t make me twitch. It’s still nowhere near necessary, but hell, I’m throwing her a bone.
“I’m Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman”
Hate. It. I don’t have to write about it then, right? Fine. It’s a ballad. ‘Nuff said.
Amy thinks this is her version of *NSYNC’s “Up Against The Wall”. I like UATW a hell of a lot more, but still, the chorus is damn catchy. The rest of it is throw-away For shame Neptunes, shame!, and her giggling kind of creeps me out. And she talks. A lot. But we were all expecting that, weren’t we? However, if you ignore this and the lyrics and just listen to the beat it’s doable. Oh, and the cheesy bridge. Ignore that. Yeah, okay, now you can listen to it. Cuz it puts her in the mood. Yeow!
It’s catchy! It’s vaguely “Our House”-y!—though, I suspect, just to me. The lyrics are trite, but no talking! She’s too busy rocking the boy. Completely silly but mellow fun. And it pretty much spells out the theme of the entire album: Gotta show me that you really want me, gotta turn me on and make me feel sexy, gotta show me that you’ve got everything I need… Brit apparently needs some love and ego stroking, folks. Send those letters!
“I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll”
Self-explanatory. And if you don’t know the song, I don’t want to hear about it. I don’t need to feel that old.
It’s called “Cinderella.” It has the worst speaking bit on the entire album. The worst. You used to say I want you. You cast me in your spell. I did everything you wanted me to do but now I shout. First your reasons why you lie to me. I won’t be blind you see. My love it can’t be sacrificed, I won’t return to thee.
Ahahahahaha. No, really, I’m not making this up. Those are the actual words. I’m not! I swear! I should hate it. Yet the bloody song sticks! I’m defenseless against it. Bitches! It’s more of the same – she’s strong, she’s dumping his lazy-ass, she doesn’t believe in fairy tales, blah blah blah. It’s stupid. But the chorus is catchy! Fuck! Do you see my dilemma here?
“Let Me Be”
How can you hate a song that begins with You try to read me, you try to figure out, you try to breathe me, but you can’t blow me out? You can’t! Exactly! I like this one! Plus, amount of heinous crimes perpetrated on track in the form of spoken blather? None! Woo! Oddly enough, this is another song about not backing down. She has no doubts, no insecurities, and would like to just be let be. I’m beginning to think this is a message album.
Truly, a song as horrid as the title makes it sound. But, dammit, it’s fucking catchy. The music, the bad lyrics…I can’t even describe the oddly satisfying feeling I get cruising down I-5 singing Bombastic love, so fantastic, where I’m completely yours and you are mine… It’s going to be exactly like in the movies when we fall in love for the first time. One problem here, *snerk* Yes, one. is that it’s way too much like “Oops I Did it Again.” Not lyrically, but beat-wise. Because when the chorus busts its move, I envision Britney doing the “Oops” dance. Oddness.
“That’s Where You Take Me”
It’s cute. It’s sweet. It’s bouncy. I like the chorus: With you I get so high, lost in the crystal sky, you are this melody, that’s where you take me. Hey, I never said it was cheese-free, I merely said it was sweet.
I was kind of hoping this was the one Justin Timberlake co-wrote. Of course, that would be too easy. Instead, he was responsible for…
“What It’s Like to Be Me”
Um. Yeah. Apparently before a man can take her home, he has to take the time to walk in her shoes. Or something like that. Anyway, you’ve got to figure her out, yo. The chorus is good in an Angry!Brit way, but take out the chorus and what’s left? Nothing I like. Though it may be worth noting that I hate it less and less each time I hear it. *sigh* I’m brainwashed! Brainwashed I say!
Extras! Which may or may not be on the import albums! I’m not sure!
“Before the Goodbye”
I really like this one. The guitar at the beginning is nice and I actually think Britney’s voice fits the song’s style well. The chorus is bitchin’. It’s sort of, for lack of a better word, stormy. And very synth-y. And almost… “artsy”, in a pop-tastic way. And then it goes sort of disco and, well, I’m not really describing this well. But I like it.
“When I Found You”
It’s a ballad. And we all know how that immediately sets it up for failure. I don’t hate it. I should, I mean it starts with I believe we all have one true love, somewhere in this world, I do…I found myself when I found you…never mind, I do hate it.
“I Run Away”
Let’s pretend that I’ve moved on, and I tell myself that life goes on without you. It’s got violins. And cellos. And, well, I like that. It’s very ’80s. In a not-entirely-off-putting way. The music tends to overwhelm her voice here, but that may very well be on purpose. It’s sort of an interesting mish-mash of syncopated beats, mooning over lost love, the stormy sound effects Britney seems to be developing a fondness for, and synthesizers up the ying yang. So, yeah, ’80s.
*And let it be said that it is her music, and not her, that I love. And really, it’s more like, not love. In any respect, it’s not actual Brit-love/like/whatever. I just can’t get behind someone who constantly lip-synchs and claims that she doesn’t. Okay, hello? MTV’s recent Total Britney Live would like to step up here as Exhibit A. Britney finishes her “live” performance of “Stronger.” She is still wearing her headset which is, one would assume, on, since she has just finished “singing” less than two seconds ago. Carson walks up to her and hands her a microphone so she can say thanks to the audience. Ahahahahaha. Yeah. Exhibit A can step down now.