Once, Britney Spears was the princess of the pop universe (I would've said queen but we all know that's Elton John). She sold millions of records, millions of males drooled over her videos, she participated in culture-defining moments like the famed Madonna make-out on MTV. Then something happened. Maybe it was marrying that human bad-luck charm Federline, maybe it was having kids, maybe it was just getting fat and happy on all that money. Whatever it was, it's been all downhill since. Now Britney's known more for drunken antics than music, and don't think people in the recording industry - the people who hold Britney's fate in the palms of their hands - haven't noticed. According to an article by Cindy Smith in Page 6, they have most definitely noticed - and they're not happy about what they're seeing.
Britney's record company, Jive Records (never was there a more aptly-named entity by the way), is on the verge of having to make a big decision - keep going with a potentially less-appealing Britney, or dump the free-falling former superstar altogether. Making the decision a little more complicated, perhaps, is the fact that Britney's new record, which she was supposedly up till 4 a.m. working on at one point, is held by many in the company to be pretty much dog-shit (which makes it distinguishable from Britney's previous output how?). If the record were great, presumably, it would be worthwhile to press on, but putting out a record that stinks by a star whose image is this damaged is probably not worth the risk. So now they have to either redo the cruddy tracks, which would be expensive, or just say the hell with it and cut Britney loose.
First of all, I don't feel sorry for Jive Records one little bit. They took Britney, a marginally-talented individual at best, and made her a superstar - they created her tarty image in the first place, and digitally manipulated her voice to create the illusion that she could almost sing, and packaged the whole thing and sold it and made gazillions. Now they're upset because their fake singer - gasp - can't make a good record, and because the chick they turned into a half-trashy tease started taking her own thing seriously and became all the way trashy. Ever heard of the chickens coming home to roost Jive?
Secondly, we should not be surprised that this is happening. Why? Because, as I've said before, these little pop-tarts are not real performers. Britney, Jessica Simpson, Christina Aguilera - they're all fake. Which is okay as long as the facade remains in place. But as we saw with Simpson's disastrous Kennedy Center Honors performance, peel that false front away and what are you left with? Nervous unprofessionalism and a pungent reek of bullshit. Britney's recent antics have all but destroyed whatever mystique she may have had. Once we may have been able to buy that there was something there, some iconic quality, but now all that surface has been removed and we see the truth - that Britney is nothing more than a spoiled no-class child who, desperate to remain in the spotlight, will make an idiot spectacle of herself as readily as the supposedly lower-rent Federline. At least, one might once have been able to argue, Britney had some records under her belt, some performances, some genuine output. That separated her from the Paris Hiltons who are only about publicity and contribute absolutely nothing of value. But it's been so long since Britney actually did anything that we can be forgiven for completely dismissing her previous semi-accomplishments, for chalking them up to a momentary fad for her type of fake purring sex-kitten act. Time seems to have passed Britney by, and there's not much left for her but the next stunt, the next public pass-out, the next cameo appearance by her naked cooch. If Jive had any sense they already would've dumped the cow.
Wednesday, January 03, 2007