The New Yorker writes about Britney’s current place in pop music.

new-yorker

My uncle who’s a published historian at Duke University, Martin Miller, alerted me of a compelling new piece about Britney in the New Yorker. Naturally, I figured it was an opportunity for my family to remind me everyone graduated from Harvard Law / are professors & lawyers etc. and I’m an Internet blogger, but alas… I was wrong! Instead I was directed to an unbiased article about Britney’s current place in pop music.

What I found interesting is their comparison of Britney to her pop peers from back in the day – everyone was singing while gyrating n sync to their array of backup dancers, but Britney did it best – she wasn’t famous for being a singer, rather, an entertainer. But the times have changed, and so has her audience.

“In this world, Spears has always been the jock among the divas, a fresh-faced student who wants to get it right,” says the New Yorker. “The problem is that both she and pop have changed their relationship to dancing.”

They compare Britney to Miley, who’s recent antics landed her as one of Barbara Walter’s Most Fascinating People in 2013. Rihanna for her outstanding award show performances, Beyonce, Adele, Katy Perry… you get the idea.

The New Yorker does cite a point I disagree with, though:

“Spears has continued to sell albums, but it’s been a while since she was a phenomenon. People buy, but do they care? The inertia acts continue to sell a large number of records, purely on the basis of familiarity. Dancing has become the audience’s job, and Spears is facing off against stars who are as much actors and improvisers as they are interpreters of song and of dance steps.”

Yes, people buy because they care. Downloading illegally? I get that – you’re curious, you want to hear it without sacrificing your hard day’s pay for something you may hate. But buying it? You care.

The New Yorker go on to trash “Britney Jean,” claiming Britney’s riding the EDM train because that’s what the kids are into and was her best shot at staying relevant in the music biz without having to do much work. They destroy her Will.I.Am feature, “It Should Be Easy.”

“Spears has avoided obsolescence by becoming the cool older sibling who turns off the lights and plays new Euro-dance tracks on the way to the club… You know her face, and you already know her sound, since it came out last year. But why ruin a good formula? It’s Britney, kids.”

Check out the entire article by the New Yorker’s Sasha Frere Jones in XRAY and leave a comment in Exhale. Be warned you may need to read more than three paragraphs to fully digest the story (no, reading the first and last sentence of every paragraph doesn’t count).


The New Yorker: Britney Spears Gets Into The Club The New Yorker: Britney Spears Gets Into The Club