People love to hate Britney Spears. I know neither her body nor her dance skills are as on point as they were and that her unembellished singing voice would not enchant Prince Eric (PS Ariel, most straight guys don’t care that much about your voice). I know these things, and I love her in spite of them. Britney is a star. Even in a lessened state, her charisma, her x-factor if you will, stacks favorably against any pop star out there today.
Ke$ha has written and recorded some awesome songs. Blow made me fist pump for twelve hours straight. Rhianna has an amazing body and an edgy voice. Madonna is still a fierce performer with tight moves. Lady Gaga is the fastest rising star in pop today. She is inspiring to watch, and her voice is unparalleled in the world of leotard-clad booty shakers. It’s worth noting they’ve all collaborated with Britney, the epicenter of pop.
Ke$ha will go back to writing songs for other people as soon as the hipster moment passes. Rhianna, beautiful and talented, does not have Britney’s versatility, never changing wigs in a video and lacking the courage to use synthesized pan flute in any of her songs. Madonna will always have fans, but not because of vocal or dance skills or ability to be nice to people; her talent lies in her aggressive pursuit of change as a way to stay relevant and garner attention*. Britney doesn’t have to resort to these tricks. People love her just the way she is.
Lady Gaga speaks openly about the difficulties of maintaining the image she works so hard for. Eventually, I hope Gaga puts aside all the spectacle so people can appreciate her gifts as dazzling singer-songwriter. Lady Gaga is the most talented of the bunch, but her vulnerability is a cloak she wears, like part of her act. She doesn’t come by this openness honestly, like BritBrit does.
Britney fans bemoan the loss of her edge, but we are very lucky to still have her. Many stars with her early success and talent for adoration burn out so early. Britney’s music is as good, often better, now than ever. A friend once told me that the reason people love performers is because they feel like those performers need to be cared for. No one exemplifies this more aptly than Britney Jean Spears. Regardless of the direction her career takes, it’s clear that she’ll be around for decades to come.
*Would that she quit garnering attention through that dance move where she squats down and shows how muscular her inner thighs are. I have seen far too much of Madonna’s post-menopausal lady business over the past few years.