Britney Spears

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Baby One More Time , 4/10
Oops , 3/10
Britney (2001) , 3/10
In the Zone (2003), 3/10
Blackout (2007), 5/10
Circus (2008) , 3/10
Femme Fatale (2011), 3/10
Britney Jean (2013) , 3/10
Glory (2016), 3/10

If you like the Beatles, then Louisian-born teen-idol Britney Spears is a milestone in popular music. If you think the Beatles were the biggest rip-off of all time, then... they were the second biggest. The biggest is Britney Spears, a trivial singer and a trivial dancer dancer who has mastered the art of copying the trends, although a product on which the music industry has lavished millions of dollars to create an overnight sensation. And an overnight sensation she became when (barely 18) she debuted with Baby One More Time, a catchy refrain propelled by martial hip-hop beats (courtesy of Max Martin, the same man behind the music of the Backstreet Boys). The album Baby One More Time (Jive, 1999) will sell ten million copies in just one year. The production work was certainly state-of-the-art, but what "sold" was her image of malicious (quasi-nymphomaniac) teenager and her throaty "oh baaaby".
She became the youngest artist ever to top the charts for both singles and albums. Teenagers around the world went nuts, the same way their grandfathers had done when the Beatles first uttered "yeah yeah yeah". The media scrutinized her private life and websites overflew with sexy photos of Britney's tits and Britney's thighs.

Not having left much to uncover, Spears returned with an equally terrible collection, Oops (Jive, 2000), that includes the new hit, the equally catchy, romantic and danceable Oops I Did It Again. But the fans remained faithful: this one sold "only" eight million copies in one year. She wore a tuxedo for her 2000 performance of I Can't Get No (Satisfaction) at the MTV Video Music Awards, and abruptly took it off revealing an almost transparent body suit to sing Oops I Did It Again.

Her virtually unlimited stupidity was on display at the MTV Video Music Awards in 2001 when she sang I'm a Slave 4 U wearing a Burmese python around her neck.

Britney (2001) and In the Zone (2003) mainly capitalized on her sexy persona (the "grown up" version of Britney the poster girl). Spears was slowly evolving towards a Madonna-lookalike and soundalike. Swedish producers Christian Karlsson and Pontus Winnberg crafted her Toxic (2003), one of the most popular dance singles of the age. At the MTV Video Music Awards of 2003 she let Madonna kiss her on the lips while performing together.

Her behavior too changed dramatically: after promising to remain a virgin until she got married, she married at 22 and then divorced a few days later. Then she got married for real, gave birth to two children, and divorced again after just three years. Her escapades became much more popular than her music, whether posing half-naked for a weekly magazine or being photographed with no underwear. For millions of middle-class families, she became the poster girl of everything that was wrong with the middle-class kids of her generation.

In 2007 she returned to live shows after a three-year hiatus, and she launched a new hit, Gimme More, produced by Floyd "Danja" Hills and Jim Beanz, but she caused a furor when she appeared (overweight, out of shape and unprepared) in a tight bikini at an MTV show. Blackout (2007) could be her most musical album, thanks to the songs composed by Danja and Beanz, as well as the songs composed by the Swedish duo of Christian "Bloodshy" Karlsson and Pontus "Avant" Winnberg, like Piece of Me; but thanks especially to the fact that her voice is dwarfed by the electronic arrangements.

Following a series of nervous breakdowns, in 2008 a conservatorship was set up by her father to run her business empire. The new hits were: Womanizer, off Circus (2008), a song written and produced by the Outsyders (Dean Beresford, Kamran Main, Ervin Ward and Rapheal Akinyemi); 3, off The Singles Collection (2009), a song mostly written and produced by Max Martin and Karl "Shellback" Schuster; Hold It Against Me, off Femme Fatale (2011), a song mostly written and produced by Max Martin and Lukasz "Dr Luke" Gottwald; and the duet Scream & Shout, a song by William "" Adams of Black Eyed Peas.

Declining sales became obvious when Work Bitch, off Britney Jean (2013) and another collaboration with, and Make Me, off Glory (2016) and written/produced by Matthew Burns, failed to enter the top-10 charts, but by 2020, Spears had sold over 100 million records worldwide, but she was never more than a voice (and not a particularly original voice) and a face through which producers such as Max Martin channelled their own breed of pop muzak.

(Translation by/ Tradotto da Daniele Resta)

Se vi piacciono i Beatles, allora troverete Britney Spears, teen-idol originaria della Lousiana, una pietra miliare della musica popolare. Se invece pensate che i Beatles siano stati la più grande fregatura di tutti i tempi, sappiate che sono solo la seconda. La più grande è Britney Spears, cantante insignificante e ballerina ancora più insignificante, che ha fatto sua l’arte di copiare le mode, nonostante sia un prodotto in cui l’industria musicale ha prodigato milioni di dollari allo scopo di raggiungere un immediato e strepitoso successo. E il successo arrivò quando – appena diciottenne – debuttò con Baby One More Time, ritornello orecchiabile sospinto da marziali ritmi hip-hop (gentile concessione di Max Martin, colui che sta dietro la musica dei Backstreet Boys). L’album Baby One More Time (Jive, 1999) venderà dieci milioni di copie in appena un anno. Il lavoro di produzione era certamente all’avanguardia, ma a vendere erano soprattutto la sua immagine di teenager maliziosa (quasi ninfomane) e il suo gutturale “oh baaaby”. La Spears diventò l'artista più giovane che avesse mai scalato le classifiche sia dei singoli sia degli album. I teenager di tutto il mondo impazzirono per lei, così come era successo ai loro nonni quando i primi Beatles urlavano “yeah yeah yeah”. I media vagliarono attentamente la sua vita privata e sui siti Internet proliferarono le foto osé delle sue tette e delle sue cosce.

Non avendo lasciato molto da scoprire, la Spears ritornò con un’altra raccolta altrettanto terribile, Oops (Jive, 2000), che include la nuova hit Oops I Did It Again, altrettanto orecchiabile, romantica e ballabile. Ma i fan le restarono fedeli: l’album vendette “solo” otto milioni di copie in un anno.

Britney (2001) e In the Zone (2003) puntavano principalmente sul suo personaggio sexy (la versione “cresciuta” di Britney, la ragazza modello). La Spears si tramutò lentamente nella copia fisica e musicale di Madonna.

Anche il suo comportamento mutò drasticamente: dopo aver giurato di rimanere vergine fino al matrimonio, si sposò all’età di ventidue anni e divorziò pochi giorni dopo. Poi si risposò sul serio, ebbe due bambini, e divorziò nuovamente dopo soli tre anni. Le sue scappatelle diventarono più note della sua musica, sia che posasse seminuda per un settimanale sia che si facesse ritrarre senza intimo. Per milioni di famiglie borghesi, diventò l’icona di tutti i problemi dei ragazzini borghesi della sua generazione.

Nel 2007 ritornò, dopo tre anni di assenza, a esibirsi dal vivo e lanciò una nuova hit, Gimme more, ma suscitò scalpore mostrandosi – sovrappeso, fuori forma e impreparata – con un bikini ridottissimo a uno show di MTV.

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