Forget what the critics say: Britney Spears hasn’t got it right – musically speaking – for at least her last two albums.
What Britney used to do well was fun, bubblegum pop. Until Toxic, at which point she became a more X-Rated performer. We stopped talking about her being a Mickey Mouse Club graduate and started talking about her crazy behaviour. She seemed to want to move in a more grown-up direction, but her interpretation was limited: it was all lapdance-themed gyrations and bland synth-pop.
Lately, Britney seems to enjoy nothing more than self-referencing songs about her celebrity and how much the paparazzi love to stalk her. Exhibit A: Piece Of Me. Enough said.
And intentional or not, If U Seek Amy invokes images of that other drug-addled tabloid monster, Ms Winehouse. Which is quite nasty: but for a court order for her father to take control of her life, Britney would still be in the same place. And do I need to mention that the lyrics are puerile and childish? If it’s a clever double-entendre, the joke wears thin with the constant repetition.
I’ve always wished Britney well, but her transition from bubblegum pop to adult entertainer was clumsily done. She would never manage the feat as well as Christina Aguilera did. Christina did slutty well and she always looked in control. Britney veered toward hooker chic and looked cheap and nasty.
At this point though, I’m totally bored by Britney. She seems to be stuck in a rut of cheap, tabloid attention-grabbing tactics. In my opinion, this is an Emperor’s New Clothes situation: while some people are calling this great pop music, the truth is that Britney is now releasing forgettable rubbish. What’s worse is that the genie is out of the bottle – she can never return to making fun, bubblegum pop.