B-Sides: Britney’s Vulnerability Shines On ‘Blackout’ Ballad, “Let Go”
Britney takes a leap of faith on unreleased track, “Let Go.”
I’ve cried more than once listening to “Let Go.” OK, I’ve cried a lot. The 2007 ballad is Britney’s most revealing, tender track we’ve ever witnessed from the typically guarded pop star. It describes a heartbreaking scenario where two people fall out of love, but stay together because fear of the unknown is paralyzing. The devil you know…
In my twenties, this song empowered me to leave a toxic relationship that I felt was all-consuming, but it took a lot of self-convincing to take the plunge. On “Let Go,” a song penned for 2007’s Blackout, Britney offers invaluable advice – that if you really love someone, you let them go.
That concept still haunts me because it requires blind faith, and my human brain is wired for instant gratification and immediate results. But letting go, whatever it is – a relationship, a friend, a drug, a feeling, you name it – requires you to place trust into a future that does not yet exist, and that’s terrifying… even for a mega superstar like Britney.
In the opening lines, Britney sees her life as if it’s a delicate poem scribbled in the corners of her diary. “It’s written everywhere / I’ve even read it in my script,” she sings over a pulsating blip and somber piano melody. In the demo, you can actually hear Britney turning the pages where the lyrics are jotted down on. It’s eerily beautiful because the songwriting manifested a physical reflection of its meaning. It’s also a raw, rare glimpse at a song that left off the typical vocal and production gymnastics.
Fans were briefly introduced to “Let Go” during one of Britney’s paparazzi chases. She was filmed listening to some of her new songs before zooming off. That CD also contained “Baby Boy,” “State Of Grace” and what fans believe is the full version of “Rebellion.”
Britney co-write “Let Go” alongside songwriting veterans, Tom Craskey and Devo Springsteen. They’ve penned hits for Aretha Franklin, Kanye West and John Legend, and they capture magic in a bottle with this Blackout ballad. Their talents especially exude halfway through the song when Britney coaches herself to live a better life by loosening her grip on control and let what is… be.
“When you let go of all you’ve known the butterflies fly,” she poetically sings. “And you will see the rainbow and all the love / Everything will be shown.” The storm begins to settle, the clouds lift and a moment of clarity sinks in. Britney reminds herself that better days are ahead despite the melancholy sinking feeling she’s left with. “The touch of grass, the air, the sun it will rise / You will see so clear it’ll bring tears to your eyes,” B continues. “Baby, everything will be alright / Just let go / You gotta let go.”
I’m inching through my thirties, and 10 years later I’m still peeling back the layers of this gooey slow-song to discover new meaning. Lately, I find myself feeling like I’m not doing enough or where I thought I’d be by this stage, and that anxiety-ridden thought loop prompts me to take action in ways I think distances me from my goals. It’s a very relatable, self-defeating way of processing life, but “Let Go” is a gentle reminder that we’re blessed and everything will be OK. To find inner-peace amidst a chaotic world that tosses challenges, heartache and turmoil your way is to love… and let go.