John

Because It’s (not) Britney, Bitch.

In Celebrity on January 2, 2008 at 9:08 am

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I was trawling through the Guardian website last night, and came upon this interesting critique about Britney Spears’s album, Blackout. It’s basically a rant targeted at music critics who gave the album the thumbs up and praising Britney, and not the producers, for her amazing comeback, fightback, attitude, etc. But “Britney had nothing to do with it,” according Caroline Sullivan, “nor with the ‘futuristic, thrilling’ ambience that had critic after critic dribbling superlatives.”

It’s a really insightful, if short, piece about the state of modern pop-stars (and a dig at n00b music critics) these days. I love Blackout–it truly is one of the best pop albums of 2007–but Ms Sullivan does have a point. It’s the producers we’ve got to thank, as much as I’d like to say that Blackout was Britney’s great comeback to all her haters out there who put her down and out for the count. Nope, she’s no Rocky, peeps.

Well, then again, Rocky was a manufactured character, so I guess the analogy does fit.

Despite having cowritten two tracks, her involvement was minimal. Britney’s job was to come in and sing; Danja and company did the rest. Even the eyebrow-raising “It’s Britney, bitch,” which opened the single Gimme More, was reportedly suggested by a producer.

Why did so many reviewers give credit where it wasn’t due? They must have been romanticising like mad – they’d have to have done, to be able to see in the lumpen Britney a parallel with the tragic heroines whose creativity really was at its most fruitful during periods of anguish. Spears is not a musician, or even a “singer,” as such – she’s an entertainer who, like the Spice Girls, hasn’t been beaten with the talent stick, but has powered through by a combination of sweat, determination and timeliness. She’s not of the class of artists who funnel their despair into their art, and shouldn’t be applauded as such.

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