9.17.2007

In Defense of Britney

If there's one thing the public loves more than seeing a star rise, it's then seeing that star fall. There may never be greater proof of this than the amazingly vitrolic backlash against Britney Spears after her performance at the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards.

I am not a fan of Britney Spears. I think her music is completely bland, she owes her success to self-exploitation, and any interest I have had in her is based on simple prurience rather than artistic interest in her as a musician or [shudder] an actor. That said, after she performed headlines continue to blast her -- and I'd say unfairly.

Most of the articles focus on her weight, claiming she is "fat," "doughy," and "displaying a paunch." True, Britney is no longer of the modelesque proportions that used to land her in the top spots when Maxim and FHM would list their 100 hottest women. But so what? To quote the title of a movie, real women have curves. And if Britney wasn't under 100 pounds, she also wasn't sporting a beer belly or looking ridiculous. I wonder how many women commenting on how heavy she's gotten would have felt comfortable with their look if they were in a spangled bikini dancing in front of millions.

There has been criticism that Britney lip-synched very poorly to her song. This is true -- but MTV is built on lip-synching (do you really believe the musicians are really singing in their music videos?) and the network has also done their own "enhancing" of supposedly live performers before. To fault Britney for poor lip-synching is like saying she isn't as good as cheating as the network is.

What hasn't received much notice is the new song itself; you'd think this would be the most important part of the performance. It's no better or worse than anything else Britney has done. If she wants to improve her reputation, Britney should try to focus on and improve as an artist, like Christina Aguilera (who went back to big band sounds) or Mariah Carey (who didn't stop showing her body but made better music at the same time).

Perhaps this performance shows that Britney can't just shake her money maker and garner the same approval she once got. But the public shouldn't crucify her over what is, essentially, one poor performance.

Commented on by James Lynch

1 comment:

DCNofer said...

Great input on the Britney performance at the '07 MTV VM Awards. I felt bad for her after that criticism!! I wanted to mention I don't agree that her newest release, "Gimme More," is "no better or worse than anything else [she's] done." I think her breakout record "...Hit Me Baby One More Time" -- written by underappreciated Max Martin, the Burt Bacharach of the '90s and 2000s -- is a song you'd need serious talent to write. On the other hand, "Gimme More" seems to me the result of a less experienced songwriter. I'd agree, though, that the way she treats what's given to her hasn't changed in nine years. Anyway, good, provocative review!!